Help me get the cell phone company to fix my phone before I turn into Russel Crowe
August 25, 2005 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Mobile phone frustration: How can I get my current phone to recognize a new network?

I have a GSM phone, the Sony Ericsson t610. I got it last year with a one-year contract. At the end of the contract I got it unlocked and switched to a new service provider last week. This phone has all the features I want and need, and I want to keep using it, so I put the new SIM card in the phone. It worked, at first.

This new company is a local operation that partners with other companies for nationwide service. When I put the new SIM in my phone, I was out of the local area where the company is based, and the network said "Roam 2," but I was assured at the beginning that there would be no extra charges because they are in the process of transitioning from CDMA to a GSM network.

I drove back home a couple days ago, and as soon as I entered the local network, I had no signal. The phone does not recognize the network, it is like I placed it in a cement box. I have talked to two different customer service representatives at two different stores, and neither of them is competent enough to help me. The first guy tried to tell me it's a hardware problem. The woman I talked to tonight was rude and condescending to the point that if I was the sole account holder (I'm on a family plan), I would have cancelled the contract right there. Her attitude was that because I didn't buy the phone from them, it's not their problem.

Now I know that my phone should work on the new network, that's the whole point of having a GSM phone in the first place. What can I tell them to convince them that they need to fix the problem? Is there anthing I can do to fix it myself?
posted by kyleg to Technology (3 answers total)
According to your post, you purchased this phone, which is a tri-band phone. My guess (just an assumption) is that you switched from T-Mobile to Cingular. T-Mobile uses the 1900 band, as does Cingular. However, AT&T, the company Cingular acquired, used 800/850. Your phone uses 900/1800/1900, which means that your phone can't be used on any infrastructure built by AT&T. If you had a quad-band phone, this wouldn't be a problem.

Again, this is assuming you switched to a carrier that uses 800/850 in some areas of Indiana, which according to this site, is true.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2005

Since you're on a family plan, does your new SIM card work in another family member's phone from this company?

But if your new local provider does use the 800-MHz band, then your T610 won't work well and may not work at all if they only use the 850 MHz frequencies in your home area. You could replace it with a T616 (the 850/1800/1900 Mz version of the T610) or get a newer phone.
posted by andrewraff at 9:27 PM on August 25, 2005

The Amazon listing (which is where I bought the phone last year) said it's 800/1800/1900, and I couldn't find anything in the documentation that came with the phone that gave me specifics. It is an 850 MHz network that I'm switching to, so it looks like I'm out of luck.

I did get one of the free phones offered with the plan to use as a backup, so at least I have options. Thanks for the quick responses; I'm still pissed that the reps couldn't tell me what the problem was, but I guess they don't get paid enough to be experts.
posted by kyleg at 10:06 PM on August 25, 2005

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