On the road again

Cingular, the new AT&TWell it wasn't pretty, I wasn't happy, Darcie got disconnected due to a fraud alert for a time and I never had coverage in Moscow until 11pm, but now my new service seems to be where I expected it to be all along. So far the people have been great, but they suffer from disconnected processes & systems.

UPDATE:

Here's the entire saga...

* Friday * Order a Cingular family plan and two new phones from Wirefly. Provide current Sprint numbers for both phones. * Saturday * Receive email from Wirefly that my order requires more information. Wirefly customer service is closed for the weekend. * Monday * Call Wirefly. The problem is that Cingular cannot access my credit report because I put a fraud alert on it a couple years ago. Wirefly gives me a phone number for TransUnion, who I'm supposed to call. * Call TransUnion several times trying different menu options. Each attempt ends in disconnection because no menu option supports my needs. * Call Cingular to see if they can help. They give me a different number for TransUnion. * Call TransUnion using new number, get stuck in the same menu. * Call Wirefly again, learn that I can also go to a Cingular store in person to solve the problem. * Take time out of my workday to go to Cingular store. Fortunately the contact number I gave on my order is my cellphone, because to solve the credit problem another Cingular department has to call me and ask a few questions to verify my identity. Cingular gets a credit report, releases my order back to Wirefly. * Call Wirefly to confirm that my order will proceed. * I paid $5 extra for overnight shipping, but my order only moves to the "QA" status on Monday. * Tuesday * Wirefly website says my order is shipping. * Wednesday * FedEx website says my order will be delivered today. * My phones arrive at home, but they don't "just work" and there are no activation instructions. * Call Cingular to activate my phones. Learn that the account will not be activated until Saturday when my numbers are ported from Sprint. Cingular customer service rep gives me a free month of service since I have basically lost a week of service. * Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday * Make several calls to Cingular regular customer care and to international support. Explain that I will be in Amsterdam and Moscow on Saturday, ask will my phone "just start working" and they say yes, once I activate international service. * Learn that I can't activate international service until my account is active, which doesn't happen until the Sprint numbers port over some time after midnight eastern early Saturday morning. I ask if my wife can do this since I will be on airplanes, in Amsterdam airport, and in Moscow. They say yes and confirm her name, phone number, and that I grant her permission to make account decisions. * Saturday * Call Cingular using Skype from Amsterdam Schipol airport. Time is about 2am eastern. The customer service rep cannot activate international service because my account is less than 90 days old. Only the "IPC" department can activate internation service on a new account. This is fine except that the IPC doesn't open for business on Saturday until 10am eastern. * My wife calls Cingular at 10am eastern and is shuffled back and forth between international and IPC. None of them will allow her to add international service to my phone because they can't have her answer the credit report-based security questions. * My wife is using her new phone successfully for calls. But then mid-morning her outgoing call is routed to the fraud department. They have suspended our account because someone is trying to activate international service on a new account. After multiple attempts, a nice rep accepts her explanation and re-activates my wife's phone. * After my afternoon and evening out in Moscow, I call the Cingular IPC via Skype from my hotel, the rep asks me some questions, and activates international service. I send my wife a text message, get a reply, and make a test call to leave my parents voicemail on their home phone. I'm feeling happy, and I blog that I'm done. * Sunday * I have a minor emergency when I'm not met at the airport in Novosibirsk as expected. I use my phone to call the client and confirm that I should just take a taxi to my hotel. * Monday * My co-worker bought a Russian SIM card for himself. I store the number in my contacts and send a text message to confirm I have it. He doesn't get the message. * Concerned again, I call my phone via Skype. I get the voicemail greeting I recoreded years ago with Sprint. My phone doesn't ring. We try calling from a couple other sources with the same result. It turns out that my expectation I could be reached in an emergency is false. * Call Cingular international support. After quite a few sessions on hold to investigate, the rep tells me that porting from Sprint will not be "complete" for 24 to 72 hours after activation. She gives me the number for the "porting" department, who might be able to give me a more accurate status. But the porting department doesn't open until 7am eastern Monday morning. * At 6pm Monday in Novosibirsk, I call Cingular porting. There is no answer, just a message that they don't open until 7:30am. I've lost all day Monday too. * At 7pm I call back the Cingular porting people. Incoming calls were scheduled for April 16, 5 days before the account activated so that obviously didn't work. Nice woman activates it, makes a few test calls, finally I see ringing. Thinking optimistically I just might be done...