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Thread: Engineering & Technical Support Have Stopped Helping... any advice on what to do next

  1. #1
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    Engineering & Technical Support Have Stopped Helping... any advice on what to do next

    Let’s try and make a long story short.....

    I work for a bank and communication is vital for deal flow. We have no WiFi and AT&T is my only choice. T-Mobile doesn’t have a large enough network. The local carrier (Appalachian Wireless) is twice as expensive as AT&T without VoLTE (which I have to have due to conference calls and being able to see Webex).

    So I have no choice. The guy with AT&T advanced technical support basically told me to switch carriers. I asked, okay, to which one?

    My issue is this:
    If you look at Pikeville, KY on a map the town looks like a horse shoe. On one side of the horse shoe near US 23, the tower located near Bob Amos drive has been upgraded to band 14 and all of the goodies. Performance is phenomenal. I went from barely being able to send an iMessage to 100+ mbps. Now, travel to the other side of the horseshoe on Main Street and this area is served by a monopole on top of a mountain near Keiser heights drive. I watched it go up a few years back and was so excited. Lol. Anyways, this tower serves my work location. Any time up until 2 PM, it’s perfectly fine. I can make calls, send emails, send text, you name it. At 2 PM on the dot until about 5 PM, everything stops working. I can’t make phone calls without robot sounding voices, my iPad on T-Mobile (only one tower in my area) rings a good 3-5 seconds before my AT&T phone does. Sometimes I don’t get calls at all. I don’t always bring an iPad to work with me.

    I have emailed an engineer in TN. I have emailed the FirstNet coordinator for my state. I have had two of their fiber guys send emails to these people. I have had the public safety coordinator for the City of Pikeville complain (they have the same issue). Nobody responds anymore. I have opened multiple cases by calling technical support all of which want to just blame my 11 Pro Max and every other phone everyone else has. I never receive a call back. Mark the Spot says there’s an issue here, but it’s said that forever. I watch the tower to/from work and never see any new equipment going up so I know I’m not close to getting “5Ge upgrades” like the other site did.

    I serve on economic Deveopment boards, broadband boards, work with city and county governments on their broadband plans, but I cannot for the life of me get anyone at AT&T to care about this. It’s all over social media every day about not being able to make calls, etc.


    Pikeville, KY is a small town in the most eastern part of Kentucky that is the shopping, legal, banking, and industrial hub of eastern Kentucky. Our town serves the needs of 250,000 people. 36,000 cars per day travel on US 23. So to AT&T, it looks like a small remote town, but every chain who has located here (retail stores, restaurants, etc) blow away projections. We have a medical school, undergraduate school, optometry school, and a hospital that employs 3,500 people!

    The University: No coverage indoors at all.
    The hospital: No coverage inside or outside.
    Shopping Areas: Plagued with congestion.
    US 23 South: 15 mile stretch of no coverage near Virgie, KY.

    So.... if anyone with AT&T is reading this, yes it is possible for our “small town” to experience congestion.

    Any advice???


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  2. #2
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    What’s going on within that sites coverage area between 2-5 that causes it to become unusable? And how are the speeds outside of that window?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GusHerb94 View Post
    What’s going on within that sites coverage area between 2-5 that causes it to become unusable? And how are the speeds outside of that window?
    Nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t know if it’s interference or what it is. Speeds outside of that window are about 3-10 mbps. Which is usable.


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    Honestly, it does not seem like AT&T really cares about complaints, even when it involves FirstNet.. Our Sheriff’s office gets 1 bar of unusable 5GE outside the office and indoors as well as most of the surrounding area is met with no signal..

    Guess what? They dumped FirstNet in favor for our regional company SouthernLINC. AT&T opted not to built a new site and address concerns..


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  5. #5
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    When you say you have no WiFi at the bank, do you mean that the bank does not have a wireless access point set up so that all computers in the bank rely on Ethernet connections, or that the bank does not even have a land-based cable, DSL, fiber, etc. connection so that the AT&T wireless connection is all that's available?

    Your best options are probably:
    --Get a T-Mobile or Appalachian Wireless hotspot device to create a wifi connection that your AT&T phone can use
    --Install an AT&T Metrocell (looking at an investment of roughly $5k - if the bank is dependent on it then it may be a justifiable business expense - but this assumes you have a wired connection at the bank but just no WiFi)
    AT&T customer since 2007; Alltel 2004-07. Android user since 2014 and will never go back to Apple.
    I recommend and use CellMapper for testing and mapping signal coverage and have contributed extensively in the greater St. Louis region and surrounding states.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinkk2005 View Post
    Nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t know if it’s interference or what it is. Speeds outside of that window are about 3-10 mbps. Which is usable.


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    If it’s that slow already then it’s probably congestion killing it. Something as simple as a school letting out, or a bus load of people showing up can do a sector in at that point.

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    Do you work in the bank or on the road? If you work in the bank use a landline, have Wi-Fi installed, a cellular microcell, or a cellular repeater. Or use a lightening to Ethernet adapter.

    If you work from the car get a cellular amp/repeater or better yet an installed phone with a proper antenna and transmit power.

    Have you tried Verizon?

    And by all means ditch your iPhone (I have the XSM myself — reception is crap). And get a proper phone for making phone calls from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, or that indestructible one (forget the names)


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    As for the congestion from 3-5pm . . .

    Likely lots of kids streaming YouTube when school lets out.

    Most likely the backhaul to the tower hasn’t been upgraded

    You mentioned FirstNet. Are you a first responder (if not become a volunteer fire fighter) and get a FirstNet SIM.


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    OP, are you speaking with business or consumer customer/technical support ? I don't want to assume without confirming.
    Don't make me turn this car around.....

  10. #10
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    Yes, speak with your Business Representative and tell them about the issue and if need be, involve their regional/district manager. Let that person know what you have done and that you need something done. If you bank doesn't have one when you will need go through the public safety coordinator for the City of Pikeville and have them speak with their Business Representative and maybe escalate this issue to their regional/district manager.

    Or
    You can ask your employer to sign up or get reimbursed for service with Appalachian Wireless. You mentioned Webex, well you only need an internet connection with this. I sometimes have to use this app and all I use in WiFi, I don't need VoLTE.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircuitSwitched View Post
    Honestly, it does not seem like AT&T really cares about complaints, even when it involves FirstNet.. Our Sheriff’s office gets 1 bar of unusable 5GE outside the office and indoors as well as most of the surrounding area is met with no signal..

    Guess what? They dumped FirstNet in favor for our regional company SouthernLINC. AT&T opted not to built a new site and address concerns..
    Yes, they do, you just have to be willing to lean on your Business Rep and find out who that persons boss is. Bring that person to the table with a meeting and follow up with calls. I had the same issue with AT&T regarding weak outside coverage. They already had complaints about the area and when I found out that we weren't the only one with issues, I leaned on him to get it done. They got the cell site installed, as I confirmed that with Advanced Technical Support but because of another building in the way and probably the type of site the cell site only offered marginal improvement.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinkk2005 View Post
    I have emailed an engineer in TN. I have emailed the FirstNet coordinator for my state. I have had two of their fiber guys send emails to these people. I have had the public safety coordinator for the City of Pikeville complain (they have the same issue). Nobody responds anymore.
    Do you follow up with emails and calls?
    If you don't follow up then they're just going to let the email rot in their inbox.
    But if they're ignoring you then they are done with the topic, likely because they are tired of you, they don't have an answer or have other projects to work on.

    Mark the Spot says there’s an issue here, but it’s said that forever. I watch the tower to/from work and never see any new equipment going up so I know I’m not close to getting “5Ge upgrades” like the other site did.
    Priorities, priorities..
    Any company like AT&T with an expansive reach will have resource and budget limitations and will choose to allocate those resources on high priority projects in the surrounding regions or other parts of the country. If the big push is 5G or the next biggest thing, then that's where they will focus their limited resources and budget on.

    Pikeville, KY is a small town in the most eastern part of Kentucky that is the shopping, legal, banking, and industrial hub of eastern Kentucky. Our town serves the needs of 250,000 people. 36,000 cars per day travel on US 23. So to AT&T, it looks like a small remote town, but every chain who has located here (retail stores, restaurants, etc) blow away projections. We have a medical school, undergraduate school, optometry school, and a hospital that employs 3,500 people!
    See above. This isn't what PMs at AT&T sees..
    They only see a laundry list of items they need to do and pick out the ones they feel are worthwhile investments.
    They are willing to lose customers if it means that certain projects are fulfilled.

  13. #13
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    The site near Keyser Heights Drive has B5+B2+B4+B4+B66+B30. The only band it doesn't have is B14 and that is scheduled for next year. Backhaul at both sites looks more than sufficient, with 700Mbps at each site. However, there does appear to be radio congestion on the Keyser Heights site, since it looks like it covers most of town. I think the biggest problem is this site has only 5MHz of LB spectrum (B5 - this area has no B12/17 available) and that is getting whacked during the busiest times of the day. The B14 deployment next year should help a bit, but I think AT&T really needs another site in town to help offload traffic from this very busy site, since there is no more spectrum to deploy.
    I do not represent any company or other entity. Anything I post in these forums or write on this site are my thoughts and opinions only. I make every attempt to be 100% accurate, but I am human and do make mistakes from time to time.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWDude49120 View Post
    The site near Keyser Heights Drive has B5+B2+B4+B4+B66+B30. The only band it doesn't have is B14 and that is scheduled for next year. Backhaul at both sites looks more than sufficient, with 700Mbps at each site. However, there does appear to be radio congestion on the Keyser Heights site, since it looks like it covers most of town. I think the biggest problem is this site has only 5MHz of LB spectrum (B5 - this area has no B12/17 available) and that is getting whacked during the busiest times of the day. The B14 deployment next year should help a bit, but I think AT&T really needs another site in town to help offload traffic from this very busy site, since there is no more spectrum to deploy.
    PM’ing you.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinkk2005 View Post
    The local carrier (Appalachian Wireless) is twice as expensive as AT&T without VoLTE (which I have to have due to conference calls and being able to see Webex).
    Um, maybe you could clarify.

    AT&T and T-mobile, back in the day, were the only carriers where you could surf the web simultaneously while using voice service. Verizon and Sprint, you could not. That was a major difference between GSM and CDMA. All of that was before LTE and VoLTE.

    https://www.quora.com/Why-cant-CDMA-...ll-is-going-on

    Given that VoLTE is not a requirement for you to get simultaneous data and voice access, what makes you say that Appalachian Wireless cannot provide you with that?

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