Just in time for Apple’s release of their new 3G IPhone on July 11, Edge Wireless was absorbed by AT&T, so apparently they will be selling and supporting the IPhone at the local Edge store. But if you’ve ever tried getting support or real information from AT&T you will recognize the customer service at the new AT&T/Edge. Try calling and pushing the buttons to get a sales person. Voice mail. Except you can’t leave them a message. Try going in to the store: When I was there the room was crowded with people waiting for service, and no sign that the line would change any time soon, except by people leaving out of frustration. One of them was me.
So here’s the big problem: The new IPhone is much cheaper than the old IPhone. But the data plan rates through AT&T are going up. So, over the life of the contract you have to sign, the net you pay is actually more. Of course, AT&T would say the increase is justified because of the 3G network. Unfortunately, that higher speed network is only available in certain urban areas. Eureka is certainly not one of them. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. And I couldn’t get anyone to tell me otherwise. And I would be very surprised if the higher speed network will be coming here any time soon.
So, you can now get an IPhone locally but you will have to pay for service you don’t get to use and you will have to put up with AT&T customer service. Man, they don’t make it easy.
I was driving to the Bay Area on Friday, the day the iPhone was released, and stopped by the AT&T Store at the south end of Eureka. The iPhones were long gone — apparently they had 30 to sell and sold out as soon as the store opened. I was told the line started to form at 4AM. Nonetheless, there was a line of 10 or 12 people waiting for service and only two customer service reps. Because the iPhones were gone, I assume that’s the normal, everyday level of crappy customer service at that store.
Anyway, as I was driving through Santa Rosa later that day I decided to stop at the Apple Store to get an iPhone there. After waiting in line for 45 minutes, I started the sign-up process and they told me that my home ZIP code (Blue Lake) is not in the AT&T service area. I don’t understand this, because there’s an AT&T store in Eureka and they sold 30 phones which will apparently work. I called the national AT&T customer service from the Apple store and was told that the coverage at home was “not very good.” I left without an iPhone, having wasted an hour.
So I am wondering: how well do the iPhones work in Humboldt? My guesses are a) perhaps AT&T service only covers in Eureka, not Blue Lake; or b) perhaps because AT&T only recently acquired Edge Wireless their coverage database isn’t updated yet. I think the only people with the answers to these questions are the workers at the Eureka AT&T store (who you can’t talk to to save your life) or current iPhone users in the area. If you have the skinny, please let me know: http://www.savetz.com/contact/
I’m such a late adopter, by the time I get an iPhone, they’ll have a large-print version.
When I was in there last week, they did have an IPhone display set up. Well, there was a stand and some cable. But no phones and no information.
Yiles, you are right. I have been calling the Edge…. er, AT&T Mobility office in Eureka all day, and never get a person. And you can’t even leave them a message.