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Letter to AT&T inspired by their performance in Prudhoe Bay, AK

13 May, 2011 (20:41) | Decategorizable

I work in Prudhoe Bay, AK. It is an oilfield. A very unique area indeed. We are at work more than half of our lives and use/depend on our phones to a high degree. In my case I am 700 miles from home while at work. Most folks working here are farther away from home than I.
The AT&T network in Prudhoe Bay has been dismal since I came here nearly 3 years ago. Now it has become unacceptable. Your competition is kicking your tails. Coverage is marginal on the entire west side of the field. But signal strength is not the issue I have. The data network is the primary reason I am your customer, but,  All the other networks here have essentially 3G class service. Yours claims to be “Edge” but the performance is far less than that. At best under good signal conditions the data network is so slow that you often wonder if it is working at all.
Let’s use a common example, getting the current weather conditions in a weather app. It’s a very small amount of data yet is takes usually 10-15 seconds to get an updated weather conditions. At home the same task is virtually instantaneous. ALL data tasks are so painfully slow in Prudhoe that I/we often don’t even try. Meanwhile my co workers are streaming video.
Not only is it painfully slow if it’s working but often the data network simply disappears, reappears, stalls, etc. It’s incredibly flakey. The rest of the time we get the “Couldn’t Activate Cellular Network” alert. This afternoon the Edge indicator would lit but there would be network performance of zero. Completely stalled all afternoon.
This has become unacceptable. It’s especially hard to take when everyone else NOT on AT&T can reliably stream video such as from YouTube.

Consider this a formal complaint that the entire AT&T network in Prudhoe Bay, AK has unacceptable performance.
Local companies ACS and GCI both have decent performance in the same areas.
Verizon is coming to AK and I’m going to look into switching if their performance is what it should be.

For me to remain an AT&T customer you are going to have to give me a compelling reason to stay. Keep in mind we depend on the network as a connection to our lives while we are at work. It’s important that it function. Rumor has it you may be upgrading the Prudhoe bay network.
Is this true? Be specific and honest. By when?

Even though this is not a big market for you consider that most folks working here have spouses (with phones) so that might almost double the number of customers. Then add in possible kids phones so I think it’s a safe bet you can triple the number of phones of your customers here. But the kicker is that they are scattered all over the USA and the UK and some other nations. Word of mouth has effects. Think on that.

Thanks for your time,




Comment from Arri
Time: 2012/11/27, 3:37 pm

Hey there dear world,
I know you people don’t read this because it’s nearly a dead blog. Not actually breathing, just sort of laying there in stasis.
Bot’s on the other hand are another story. They are voracious readers and frequent this blog a LOT!
But that’s not what I came here to say.

In fairness to AT&T I have to say that they did finally actually upgrade their equipment in Deadhorse. 4G. No foolin’!
I’m sure they still only have the one tower in Deadhorse which means there is about zip for signal on the West side of the Prudhoe Bay field, but that’s almost another topic. Suffice to say that putting stuff inside the Lease is a big deal. At present only local carrier ACS has that status.
But hey, at least it’s a step in the right direction. The upgrade was prompted no doubt by the coming of Verizon in Alaska.
I of course have long ago jumped off the AT&T ship and went with another local carrier, GCI.
ACS and GCI are commencing on a partnership to do battle with the national carriers and should wind up with a kick butt system here in AK. Should be fun to watch it all go down!