Dell/Cingular Mobile Broadband Activation is Terrible
[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
18 – 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.
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.
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
- 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.
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
- 24-48 hours = 2+ weeks with no service.
- I hear it’s pretty fast when it works.