Dell/Cingular Mobile Broadband Activation is Terrible

July 29, 2006 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

[UPDATE: A very helpful billing rep in Cingular’s Corporate Markets Group named Janet Collier single handedly setup my account in just a few hours! I guess its who you know…]

Two weeks ago, my new Dell Precision M65 came in.
It’s a great machine for web development because it has tons of space and tons
of horsepower (and runs Vista B2 perfectly). But the other major feature I wanted was the built in Cingular
Wireless card for “always on internet” or Mobile Broadband. It’s supposed to take 24-48 hours to
setup. Instead, I’m going on two weeks with no results.

Here’s my current saga:

  • Tues, July
    – Called in, gave my card’s information and our Cingular account and was
    assured that everything would happen in 24-48 hours.
  • Thurs, July 20 2PM
    – Received call from Dell that Cingular changed the price from $59/mo to $79/mo.
    I asked them to double check with Cingular and call me back because Cingular’s
    site says $59/mo. I did not receive a call back.
  • Thurs, July 20 3-5PM
    I spend a few hours on the phone with Cingular trying to activate through them.
    Their activation people need a new number in order to activate the Dell data
    card, but they can’t give me a new line for the data plan. They forward me to
    the their business people, but they can’t give me a new line without also
    ordering an AirCard. I try several differnet times and everyone at Cingular
    tells me a different story about data activation and what their software can and
    cannot do (I heard the phrase, “The software won’t le me do that. It’s just not
    setup that way.” about 100 times). They one thing everyone at Cingular agreed on
    was that Dell was wrong – the data plan is $59/mo. and I would have to call
  • Fri, July 21 9 AM – Since I got nowhere with Cingular and Dell
    hadn’t called back, I called Dell again Friday morning to see if they had been
    working on it. I found out that the $59/mo rate was only for people with
    existing Cingular accounts, but that it was $79/mo for new accounts. I told them
    we had an account so that shouldn’t be a problem (I currently use a Treo650 with
    a data plan). A nice young woman named Stevie assured me she would take care of
    it and call me back when it was resolved.
  • Fri, July 21 12PM – Stevie
    called me back and left me a message to say she was working on it.
  • Fri,
    July 21 5PM
    – I haven’t heard back, so I call again to make sure everything was
    still on track and another nice young man tells me Stevie is gone and hasn’t
    done anything on it. He says he will personally look over this account and get
    it done by Monday. He tells me a crucial detail. Dell is not allowed to call
    Cingular. The only way Dell can contact Cingular is via email
    and they have to
    wait for Cingular to respond.
  • Mon, July 23 4PM – I haven’t heard from
    anyone, so I call again. I spoke to a woman who said that the order had been
    cancelled. Wow. She apoligies for the inaction of the previous three people to
    whom I’ve spoken and suggests that we restart the order. So, we place a new
    order and I have to wait another 24-48 hours for activation.
  • Wed, July
    25 2PM
    – Still doesn’t work, so I call again. This time, I speak to Jennifer. I
    don’t beleive that getting angry or being pushy is helpful, so I calmly and
    respectfully relay the story, but remain firm that this needs to happen today.
    She was very kind and apologetic. It takes her a while to find my order, but
    when she finds it, she says that it was placed Jul 20, then cancelled. What?
    Nothing from last Tuesday (7/18) or Friday (7/21) or  Monday (7/23)? No. This
    time she suggests that her manager call me to see if he can help.
  • Thur,
    July 26 10AM
    – I haven’t heard from the manager, so I call again and somehow I
    happened to get Jennifer again. She was very kind and thanked me for being so
    patient and kind. She puts me on hold to get her manager, but then comes back
    and says that he was in a meeting and waived her off. “He’ll call you
  • Thur, July 26 3PM – The manager calls! He tells me that Cingular
    emailed back saying that our Cingular account has a “no more lines NP” The Dell
    manager says that Cingular sends messages with unknown acronyms all the time and
    he does not know what this one means. He tells me some stuff about the number of
    data vs. voice lines, but that he doesn’t really know how to make it work. So he
    offers to try to setup a new account (which apparently will cost $79/mo) to
    avoid the dreaded “no more lines NP” problem, but he also sends our existing
    account information so that we can get the 59/mo rate. I’ll need to wait 24-48
    hours again.
  • Fri, July 27, I’m writing this message from through our “internet tubes.”

So here is a summary of pretty dumb
things I ran into when dealing with Dell/Cingular activation.

  • You
    must call Dell instead of Cinlguar to activate your account. Cingular cannot
    activate the card if you call them.
  • Dell and Cingular reps tend not to
    know pricing or policy very well and the reps tend to blame the other company
    for problems like mine.
  • Dell only has email communication with Cingular,
    and apparently Cingular sends Dell Cingular-specific acronyms that Dell reps
    (and managers) cannot decifer.
  • Dells account records don’t show who has
    worked on orders or how many times you’ve called in, so you have to start over
    every time. Make sure you take down names – I only did for 2 of the 5 people to whom I spoke.
  • Dell’s voice menu makes you listen to a several minute long
    message before you can make a menu selection. It is not a “make your selection
    at any time” menu.
  • When you get through the menu, the menu always tells
    you, “Your expected wait time is less than one minute,” but it’s always at least
    20 minutes.
  • 24-48 hours = 2+ weeks with no service.


  • I hear it’s pretty fast when it works.

4 responses to “Dell/Cingular Mobile Broadband Activation is Terrible”

  1. Unresolvable says:
  2. Unresolvable says:
  3. Albert Pascual says:

    Having issues like that with Verizon Wireless and my Blackberry. Good luck, after many weeks I decide it to cancel my account.

  4. UK Broadband says:

    Recently in UK they started doing it as well. I hate it. It seems it came from you guys, when you had it 2 years earlier.

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