Saturday, September 11, 2010

On jammed frequencies

If you live in Kingston, ON and have a Bell or TELUS GSM phone, chances are you're experiencing some technical difficulties: dropped calls, failed calls, delayed text messages... I know I am.

I called in a technical ticket and should have an answer by Tuesday. Meanwhile, the problem hasn't been resolved. In fact, it may have gotten worse.

Every time I try to make a call, whether local or long distance, it fails. It'll fail five or six times before going through, and then, though I haven't moved, the call will drop after a couple of minutes of airtime. It's very tough to have a decent conversation, which is super frustrating. In fact, it totally sucks.

The TELUS rep at the store downtown was much more helpful than the 611 technicians in explaining the nature of the problem to me. It seems that these issues arise yearly, which is something the phone techs are not necessarily aware off. When all the Queens students come back to town, the population of Kingston, ON doubles. To make matters worse, the new influx of cell signals is concentrated to the downtown core. This causes the cell towers to be completely overloaded, especially because GSM signals* aren't as strong as the old CDMA and other non-SIM card technologies. To make matters worse, TELUS hasn't put up its own towers in Kingston yet, so all non-Rogers 3G customers are dependant on the proper functioning of the shared Bell towers. Clearly, they do not have the capacity to provide proper service to all those who want it, and I will be asking for a partial refund on my service.

At least the @TELUSSupport rep on Twitter was helpful in letting us know that they were experiencing text message delays on the HSPA network. At least this means the text messages are actually going through and coming in - unlike yesterday - just not in a timely fashion.

If you're in the same situation as I am, don't despair! Apparently, the network traffic overload will be lessened in a week or so and in the next couple of days, everything should be back to normal. Hopefully.

* Please excuse any terminological errors... This isn't my field of expertise!