The PhoneBoy Blog

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A Week on Cingular Orange

Now for my “other” phone experience: that on Cingular after “migrating” from my old AT&T Wireless account.

A week ago, I turned in my Blue AT&T Wireless sim for an Orange Cingular one and I’m happy to say things that most things are going well. Service is working more or less as well as it was under my AT&T Wireless account. My phone continues to work at my house. Once I got it set up, GPRS/EDGE access is working well complete with laptop tethering. I have noticed that the phone more readily picks up on new signal when the tower it previously locked onto goes south, especially if thw tower was, say, “Orange” and the new one is “Blue.” (While AT&T Wireless is now a part of Cingular, they are for all intents and purposes seperate companies with seperate systems, including seperate towers)

It took about two or three days for everything to completely start working under Orange. I was able to make and receive calls on my new Orange SIM within about 20 minutes of calling to activate my phone, but it took a couple of days for text messaging outside of Cingular to work correctly as well for Cingular’s systems to recognize I was an “Orange” number and not a “Blue” number.

Despite what others have found, I have found the “Orange” Cingular reps just as helpful and courteous as the “Blue” reps. They don’t always know the answers to my questions right away, but they can usually find them pretty quick. I will miss 24/7 access to the reps, though I hope that is one thing that Cingular brings over from the Blue, along with unlimited incoming text messages.

One thing I miss from Blue is the ability to look at my account details online. While Cingular does offer a fabulous system for this, I am unable to take advantage of it. I believe this is because my account is treated as a “business” account due to the corporate discounts I receive. They are supposedly working to allow this, though it is a pain in the meantime. About the only thing I can do is check my minutes with their star services, which I think are pretty cool. Check your minutes and account balance with a quick short-code from your phone. Now if I could only check my GPRS usage…

Another thing I miss is the ability to manually select whose tower I am on. Cingular locks out the ability to select which carrier’s tower you are on, though theoretically the 64k SIM and Enhanced Network Selection should make this unnecessary as it should always pick the best carrier to use. However, I have discovered a way to “check” which tower you are on without having NetMonitor. If you dial #121 and it works, then you’re on a Blue tower. If it doesn’t work, you’re on an Orange tower. (#121 is AT&T Wireless’s Voice Information service)

It will be interesting to see how well my phone behaves in the San Francisco Bay Area this week, which bas both good Cingular and AT&T Wireless coverage.

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.