Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sprint EVDO Woes (Maybe)

I'm writing myself a quick note in this space, so that I'm keeping track of my various discussions with Sprint regarding my EVDO coverage.

Seemingly, since I replaced my EVDO modem, I'll have periods where the connection will work fine for a few minutes, then slow down to a very slow speed, then drop completely. Often the Sprint Smartview app will say I'm connected, but I'll have no actual connectivity.

It feels to me like a dead zone (poor cellular signal) or internet issue, perhaps relating to what tower I might be connected to, or related to my physical location (Sheridan and Lunt, Chicago). But, I'm not an expert.

Today, I tried to login to Sprint's website so that I could email my concerns to Sprint support.

Their website says I have to prove who I am...all over again. Even though I'm a registered user. I have to identify myself via one of two ways:

1. Text message to my Sprint phone. I don't have a Sprint phone. I have an USB Mobile Broadband modem. I have no clue if it receives text messages. I assume that it does not.

2. Answer a bunch of weird and invasive questions. When you lived on Columbus Avenue, what kind of car was registered there? Uh, I never lived on Columbus Avenue, and I have no clue. It asked about six variations on things like that until it locked me out for giving wrong answers. It's clearly getting data from a consumer credit report -- and it's confusing me with my father, based on the data it's displaying. And I have no idea what year Lincoln he had when he lived on Columbus. FTW.

OK, so I call in to Sprint instead. A explain to the rep that I can't access the Sprint site and that it's asking me for personal information that doesn't actually relate to me. He very slowly confirms this for himself by logging in as me (I have to give him my password over the phone, very high tech). He says there is a system issue and it will be fixed in two hours. Okay, that's balogna, but I give up for now.

I explain my problem holding a Sprint EVDO connection. He keeps saying there is a problem with the Sprint website and it will be fixed in two hours. Dude, I'm not talking about the Sprint website, and a problem I've been having for days-to-weeks has nothing to do with whatever issue is currently being experienced with the website. We go around and around on this, until I give up, and I ask him to transfer me to another rep. He can't/won't/whatever, and keeps telling me to try again in two hours. I hang up and call back.

Next rep -- helpful, polite, clueless. Tries to help me troubleshoot the connection. Her script refers to some version of Sprint software that I do not have. She keeps asking me to click on buttons that don't exist, menu items not found in that application, etc. She finally admits that I'm not crazy, we really are working on two different versions of an application, and she escalates it up a tier.

The third rep -- polite, knowledgeable. But, has to run me through all the lame troubleshooting stuff one does with PCs. Reboot. Uninstall. Re-install. Clear DNS cache. Re-activate the modem. OK, can't harm anything, maybe something will change. We'll see.

I'm up and running after all of that, though it cost me 59 minutes and 24 seconds of my day, spent on the phone with Sprint. And who's to say if something actually changed, or if things are just working fine for a while (as they do) then start crapping out again.

We'll see.

Plans for the future include calling Sprint every time the connection gets fussy, to make sure that stuff is logged, in case I want to ask for a credit later. (Or if I want them to wave the ETF later, if I want out of this contract.)

Hmm. AT&T is a no go in my neighborhood in Chicago. Sprint is driving me nuts today. What's left? I wonder if Verizon has good coverage here.

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