My iPhone 4 (and 3G Microcell) Tale of Woe, Part II

Last week, I reported on how a new iPhone 4 and an older iPhone 3GS both got new, ported numbers from T-Mobile. That completely hosed up the 3G Microcell management account, and the 3G Microcell went off the air. On Monday, everything was fixed thanks to AT&T.

On July 13, I told the story about how, when my original AT&T wireless number went away and was replaced by a ported number from T-mobile, it launched a tale of woe.

3G Microcell

AT&T 3G Microcell

AT&T moved heaven an earth to fix this problem for me. It was a complicated affair to reset the 3G Microcell account with a new primary number, and that’s something AT&T apparently hadn’t planned for in its 3G Microcell administration. It turned out I wasn’t the only customer in that fix.

AT&T originally told me on July 13 that it would take a few days to remedy this, so when things weren’t back to normal on Friday, I called wireless support. Because I asked for it, the tier 1 support woman graciously gave me a US$25 credit for my iPhone being off the air. (Recall, I live in an area with no usable AT&T signal, hence the Microcell.) Also, the store manager at the AT&T store in Lone Tree, Colorado had previously given me a full refund on the Microcell, US$150, as a customer retention benefit, so I had a total of $175 credit applied to my wireless account. I was very, very pleased about all that.

Apparently the brick on the front of my house makes it difficult for my 3G Microcell to get a GPS lock, even though it’s right next to a window. It needed most of the weekend, sitting in the window sill, to obtain that necessary lock, so that time was well spent.

On Monday morning, I got a text message from AT&T that all was well, but it wasn’t quite. (It’s a miracle the text message got through given my reception issues.) I didn’t have that magical 3G light on the Microcell glowing, indicating that it was radiating and I didn’t have the “M-cell” indicator on my iPhone 4. So I called the number they had given me.

This AT&T team, near Modesto, California, looks to be tier 3 support. They have direct access to the Microcell management servers. The representative told me that all the old data was cleaned out, and I was ready for a fresh start. She had me reboot the Microcell and re-activate it. That only took five minutes, and once powered up, the Microcell synced and the 3G light was glowing within 15 minutes. (The previously obtained GPS lock had held between power cycling.)  Sweet.

I can see how changing the base number for the account might throw the Microcell servers for a loop, but I wish AT&T had planned ahead for that, knowing that a lot of new iPhone 4 customers would be coming online in June, right after the 3G Microcell had shipped for the first time. Even so, I was pleased with how AT&T handled the affair. Every rep I talked to was courteous and helpful. I was given ample credit. The tier 3 team near Modesto, CA did everything humanly possible to deal with the ticket and got me back on the air fairly quickly — given the likely technical difficulties at first. They were great.

Props to AT&T for its customer support.


For those interested, here’s the link to my original review of AT&T’s 3G Microcell.