After months of waiting for 3G service, local AT&T customers have full mobile broadband network access for their devices in addition to better reception when making and receiving calls and text messages.
The degraded tower in Talladega was repaired and enhanced to 3G, and a new cell tower was also activated to enhance coverage in the area, giving local customers 3G service as early as Monday evening.
“We very much apologize for the inconvenience that coming to this point has caused our customers in Talladega,” said Mike Barger, an AT&T spokesperson for Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
“We hope the enhancements will make it worth it.”
Over the last few months, many customers experienced a high volume of dropped calls, delayed text messages, and restricted access to Internet and data services.
The restoration comes after AT&T President Fred McCallum made a visit to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind towards the ends of November.
Dissatisfied customers in the community, including AIDB President Terry Graham, made numerous complaints to AT&T and their customer representatives.
The poor wireless service AIDB had been getting from AT&T was not only a barrier of communication for students, but was also a safety hazard for students who could not get in touch with staff, and staff members who could not reach each other while on campus.
“Our goal has always been to enhance the network and bring mobile broadband to our customers,” McCallum said.
“We wanted to make sure the network experience was a good one, so we elected to ensure it was done right the first time and that took longer than we would have wanted. Bottom line, we want our customers to have an extraordinary experience when they make a call, check e-mail, download a song or video, or surf the Internet on an AT&T device.”
The new cell tower will enhance coverage in the area and help cut down on the high level of traffic that was previously going through one tower.
The degraded tower needed to be repaired before receiving the 3G network upgrade.
“When we went out to the site there were other things that needed to be repaired at the site even before we worked on our network upgrades,” Barger said.
Barger also said that over next three weeks, AT&T will be working to optimize the tower by fine-tuning the network and making sure it’s working properly.
During this time, Barger said, customers’ signals might go back to “Edge” but their device will still receive 3G service.
The 3G enhancements and the construction of a new tower will also improve coverage in areas with dead spots, and increase speed and capacity with the 3G network.
“A cell site can only take so much voice and data traffic before it’s congested like a highway, so we’ve added more lanes with 3G,” Barger said.
AT&T announced their plan in late November to make major network improvements for customers all over Alabama by the end of this year.
The wireless phone company announced that they would be upgrading 150 cell sites to 3G in Talladega, St. Clair, Baldwin, Calhoun, Colbert, Dallas, Lauderdale, Macon, Marshall, and Walker counties.
The 3G service has been activated in Killen and Florence in Lauderdale County, and in Jasper and Townley in Walker County.
AT&T has also expanded 3G coverage in Huntsville and will expand coverage in Birmingham next week by adding more cell sites to both areas.
Munford in Talladega County should be activated by the end of this year.
“Demand for wireless bandwidth is growing rapidly, whether it’s for sharing video and photos with friends, watching a movie, checking the latest scores, or listening to music on a phone, netbook or other on-the-go devices,” said Joe Larussa, vice president and general manager, AT&T Consumer & Mobility Markets in Gulf States.
“With this network enhancement, our customers in Talladega can enjoy the nation’s best, most advanced mobile broadband experience with emerging devices and tens of thousands of mobile applications.”