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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesAT&T Cell Phone Service "Terrible," Coral Bay Residents Say

AT&T Cell Phone Service "Terrible," Coral Bay Residents Say

The cell phone tower at Bordeaux.Since the fall, AT&T cell phone service hasn’t worked well in the Coral Bay area, several residents said. "We’ve been paying for phone service and it’s been just terrible," Coral Bay resident Phyllis Benton said.
The phones work when the customers use them closer to Cruz Bay.
While those on the receiving end of Benton’s calls could hear her, she said she could not hear their full responses.
Benton sees this as a safety problem since many AT&T customers depend solely on their cell phones.
Anna Adams is one of them. She lives alone on a boat in Coral Bay Harbor with a one-year-old child.
"I get a lot of garble," Adams said, describing her phone service.
Several other people contacted by the Source or who called the Source Tuesday reported similar problems.
"I can hardly hear you," Coral Bay resident Marie Naisby said.
Additionally, Benton and others said that AT&T is the only option in Coral Bay because other cell phone companies’ phones don’t work at this end of St. John. The AT&T service comes off a tower located at Bordeaux, the highest point on St. John and located above Coral Bay.
"They have you over a barrel. If Verizon came here, I’d switch in a minute," Coral Bay resident Robin Gallup said.
After several phone calls to AT&T’s corporate and Puerto Rico offices, spokesperson Rosie Montalvo in the Puerto Rico office called back Tuesday. She said that technicians worked on the cell phone tower last week, and she thought the problem had been repaired.
However, when the Coral Bay-based Source reporter called from her cell phone to Montalvo’s cell phone on a test call, the transmission was garbled. The same thing happened when Montalvo called the reporter. Montalvo promised action.
"We are committed to providing the ideal service," she said.
Benton and others were frustrated trying to get AT&T to fix the problem.
"Every time you called AT&T, it was like walking down a 10-mile road and starting at the beginning," Benton said.
Coral Bay resident Bob Klenke said he’s called numerous times. He said AT&T promises to fix the problem, but it continues.
After numerous calls, Benton said AT&T finally opened a case file number on her problem, but she still was unable to convince them that it was a problem affecting numerous Coral Bay customers. Benton and Adams, who both work at Connections phone and mail center in Coral Bay, both said numerous people have used Connections phone to call AT&T with complaints about the service.
Benton said AT&T tried several fixes on her phone, including replacing the SIM card. Nothing worked permanently.
Klenke pegged the start of the problem to the roll-out of the upgraded 3G service in the fall. However, many residents haven’t upgraded. They appear to be the majority of the ones with the problems.
Finally, AT&T replaced Benton’s phone with a complimentary 3G phone. While that seems to have helped her, AT&T customer Roy Proctor hasn’t had the same success.
Reached Tuesday on the new 3G phone provided by AT&T, he said he couldn’t hear all of my questions.
"This phone doesn’t work any better than the old one," he said.
Gallup signed up for another two years with AT&T at her expense to get a 3G phone, but said that while it works better, she gets roaming charges that indicate she’s called from such distant points as Grenada and Jamaica.
"I have to call AT&T to get the roaming charges off," Gallup said, noting that she hasn’t made any calls from those locations.

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