TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Alltel/AT&T/Cingular in Oklahoma City Market Area

Re: Alltel/AT&T/Cingular in Oklahoma City Market Area

Stanley Cline (
Sun, 28 Aug 2005 05:08:48 -0400

On Fri, 26 Aug 2005 19:52:38 EDT, wrote:

> Leonard can't use the Treo on the Alltel network because it uses a
> different technology.

Correct ... AT&T Wireless was and Cingular is GSM, while Alltel is CDMA.

Alltel does own some GSM coverage in the West and Southeast as the
result of acquisitions, but Alltel does not sell GSM service to its
customers; the GSM in former Western Wireless territory in the West
only serves roamers from other carriers, and the GSM in former PSC
Wireless territory in the Southeast only serves a small number of
acquired customers (until they are weaned off GSM to CDMA anyway) and

> And Cingular Wireless won't let new subscribers bring their own
> phones even if they use the same digital network.

This statement is partly incorrect. Cingular IS requiring that new
customers accept Cingular-branded equipment when activating service
(and AIUI, T-Mobile USA is too, but unlike Cingular only for
activations through indirect sales channels), but Cingular, like every
other GSM carrier in the world, does NOT prevent GSM customers from
using their own equipment. Technically, Cingular could do so via a
variant of IMEI blacklisting, but no US carrier uses IMEI blacklisting
at all and no carrier in the world does it except for phones reported
lost or stolen.

The problem in this case is almost certainly that the Treo is locked
to the AT&T network (programmed to only accept an 'AT&T SIM') and
won't accept a 'Cingular SIM' ...but that can be very easily worked
around via any number of third-party unlocking services. Cingular
itself won't provide unlock codes for AT&T-branded equipment because
a) AT&T Wireless flatly refused to provide unlock codes under any
circumstances for equipment it sold (AFAIK, they were one of the only
GSM carriers in the world, if not *the* only one, with such a harsh
and restrictive policy) and b) Cingular wants all AT&T-branded
equipment out of customers' hands so it can put Cingular-branded
equipment in their hands. (Cingular DOES provide unlock codes for
Cingular-branded equipment when certain conditions involving length of
service, account status, are met.)

The solution in this specific instance is to:

- get the Treo unlocked via a third-party unlocking service (this
would involve taking or shipping the Treo somewhere; AFAIK, there
are no "remote unlock" options available for Treos like there are
for virtually all Nokias and some Motorolas);

- activate a new line of service with Cingular with no data plan,
accepting any old phone (preferably one that is free or very cheap
with a contract);

- move the SIM from the free/cheap phone to the Treo;

- request the PDA data plan on the newly activated line.

> Cingular spokesman Frank Merriman said the company won't allow users
> to bring telephones from other networks to ensure "quality remains the
> same across the board" for its users.

Cingular generally doesn't allow *TDMA* users (what few there are
left) to do so, but as stated above, they can't exert the same power
over *GSM* users -- well, technically they could, but they don't.

> "When someone upgrades from AT&T Wireless to Cingular, they need a new
> phone, and the reason they need to upgrade is there is unique software
> imbedded in the phone to enable it to work properly," Merriman
> said. "The AT&T network is not functioning anymore, and there is no
> way that equipment can operate on the system as it is."

That is utter cow manure ... IF THE TREO WERE UNLOCKED, which Cingular
itself could do by providing unlock codes but simply refuses to do for
"AT&T"-branded equipment because of "marketing" policies, it would
work on Cingular's network -- or on the network of any other GSM
carrier in the world -- just fine. All Treo firmware, including
carrier-specific versions, already contains all settings needed to run
on the networks of Cingular and a wide variety of other GSM carriers
in the US and around the world, and even if it didn't, GSM is
standardized enough that getting any device up and running fully on
any network just entails changing a few settings to get data and
SMS/MMS working, and to get basic voice service working even that
isn't necessary.

FWIW, I have a Treo 650 running on T-Mobile USA despite their not
selling or officially supporting it. I bought an unlocked 650
directly from Palm(One) and just moved my SIM over from my previous
device, a T-Mobile Sidekick, after activating a data plan appropriate
for the Treo; as soon as I put my SIM in the Treo it configured itself
with the data and SMS/MMS settings required by T-Mobile's network and
has worked flawlessly with my T-Mobile service ever since.

Stanley Cline // Telco Boi // sc1 at roamer1 dot org //

"it seems like all you ever buy is Abercrombie and cell phones" --a friend

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