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Cellphone Problems

By September 1, 2005katrina

So here’s the deal with cellphones.  Apparently any cellphone with a 504 area code cannot receive calls.  Now that I’m out of the disaster zone I can make calls to non-504 numbers.

I can’t access my voicemail at all (it’s a 504 based number).  I can, however reliably text message people, even those w/ 504 area code.  I called Sprint to see about switching my phone to a new area code.  This presents problems:  (1) I have to match my area code to my mailing address (note to self: quickly decide where you are going to receive snailmail); (2) I would have to switch all my kids phone numbers too, which is not a problem except that their phones immediately won’t work and I’ll have to

physically have their phone to reprovision them.

So, here’s my question: can Sprint and the other wireless carriers fix this problem soon, or is it better for everyone with a 504 area code to get a new phone number?  Obviously, no one wants to switch numbers when there is no easy way to communicate the new information to friends and family.


P.S. If you appreciate my observations, you might want to join my inner circle.

6 Comments

  • Pat Jack says:

    Mobile phones users in Katrina affected Area Codes,(especially prepay users) are demographically and geographically,out of minutes, have no airtime, on second batteries.The lucky have some capability to re-charge.

    Big Mobile Phone providers plan a release of phone cards at the Astrodome.It’s a media circus.

    Big Mobile Phone providers are proposing a limited number of methodsto deal with a National Catastrophe impacting oil and food exports and imports.The oil reserves themselves are in and amongst this destruction in the salt domes.

    Old School, the phone companies could easily pump free minutes into all phoneswith the same programs they send you all that spam with.

    An immidiate and global distribution of FREE MINUTES and FREE AIRTIMEto all phones in the Katrina devestated Area codes and Katrina evacuation routesmust be implemented now. Out of minutes = no communication = disorganization

    Physical distribution of cards will create a fast and dangerous trade market.The people who distribute these cards could seed more volitility into this situation.The people distributing these cards in the long-term are in a dangerous physical situation.

    The people of this nation affected by National Security and National Disaster issuesas a result of Hurricaine Katrina must have MANY to MANY communication NOW.

    Vendor locations for pre-pay are shut down,phone cards along evacuation routes are sold-out or in limited supply.These refugees don’t have, or cannot get to, prepay cash.

    Our phone service is so capitalized and compartmentalized,it seems very inneffective at this time compared to a wide open100% free phone system. And I’m not advocating a 100%free phone market of any sort, I just want you to thinkabout the difference it would make and how closewe can get to that, in the shortest amount of time.For the purposes of Katrina RESCUE and RELIEF.

    Pre-pay Mobile Phone user Market closely mimic thoseAmericans victimized by Natural Disasters.They are prey to SCAMS and FRAUD.

    Young people with prepay ‘Virgin Mobile’ phones as well asthe markets of Tracone, prepay markets, are not being affordedthe opportunity to use their EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION DEVICES,especially in the long-term. These markets must be sustainedwith the Automatic scripting of free minutes pumped into the phones,globally with no regard for economic strata, race, etc..

    Again, the pre-pay Market is made up of the poor, elderly, infirm,handicapped, low and fixed income, children, etc …

    The phones are lifelines to order in the short and longterm.

    The FCC must require all phone companies to fill all phones in thearea codes affected by Katrina, especially flooded New Orleans,with free minutes. This must be done globally withoutregard for race or economic class. The AUTOMATED scriptingon Mobile phone service providers administrative computers topush free minutes and free airtime globally to all Mobile Phones in Katrinaaffected areas is the American thing to do. Push the free minutesto prepay and to CORPORATE customers as well. Give them to everyone,now. Let this place communicate and continue RESCUE, continue RELIEF,and continue to REBUILD in the longterm.

    Alltell.com is continuing to produce an organized, informed and effectiveresponse to Hurricaine Katrina Relief issues.

    https://www.alltell.com/corporate/media/0905hurricanerelief.html

    Other Mobile Phone Providers are thinking and acting, check their homepages.

    HERE ARE THE EMAILS for the FCC bigwigs,email them to get free minutes for Katrina devestated area codes –

    KJMWEB@fcc.govKathleen.Abernathy@fcc.govMichael.Copps@fcc.govJonathan.Adelstein@fcc.gov

    Copy and paste those emails into the -TO- box of your email.

    I don’t want to attack the phone companies.I just want all of us to send some suggestions as to how they can help.Ask the Mobile Phone companies for what we need, free airtime,unemcumbered with their marketing schemes.

    Email the customer service departments of all the Mobile Phonecompanies you can think of. Gather their customer service EMAILS,their Media reps emails. Forward all of this.

    Check knowledgeable communities on the internet that addressthe needs of Katrina Victims and Refugees. Ask the phone companiesfor what we need, free airtime, unemcumbered with their marketing schemes.

    Ask the Mobile Phone companies to establish an account toDONATE FREE MINUTES from YOUR PLAN.Ask them to MATCH YOUR DONATION.

    Thus, any injured or incapacitated person with a phone, and any phonethey might FIND that is working will get them through. Many to manycommunication.

    Auto location of the looters who hunker down can be facilitated,they can be saved also, rather than slaughtered.

    Additional resuce is enabled which is critical as resuce optionscontinue to approache the point of no return for some stranded infirm, etc..

    People will come through the network.That’s what this is about right, people!

    Where there are discarded phones, their are babies, children,women and men. The phones need to have minutes.

    Guard dogs can hear phones dialing, ringing, etc..

    Guard electronics can sniff and locate the phones, as well as theability of a Guard dog to smell a warm cell phone, the warm batteryand it’s characteristic smell.

    These phones are lifelines and key to restoring order.

    A lot of young and elderly will die of dehydration in the next days.Refugees need to FIND THE RESOURCES, they need minutes.Many of them are lost, out of state, with no transportation.The Katrina refugees need free minutes and free airtime.Those needing rescue need those minutes.

    The automated and global scripting of a push of free minutes to all cell phoneswill most importantly transcend the racial and class structures.

    This is DISASTER RELIEF and should neverapproach the line over which NATURAL DISASTER PROFITEERINGis approached, lonterm or shorterm, by any company.

    Jockying for market position at the demise of the American People,will be observed if it is present.

    Schemes to give out free phones to lock in desparate customers in themonths ahead are PUTRID. Schemes to get customer database informationfor Phone Marketing departments is off limits here.

    Keep it on the up and up, script the automated push of the free minutesto all Mobile Phones in the Katrina devestated area codes and evacuation routes,gloabally. Now.

  • Mike McDonald says:

    Cingular, Sprint, et all just don’t want to bothered or their entire network management infrastructure is as rotten as their service. For this level of catastrophy they could open an emergency area code and migrate everyone that has temporarily relocated outside Louisiana to receive incoming calls. Repairing the coastal hardware installations is only half the problem.

    I am a Cingular customer currently in Little Rock, AR. There are no hardware issues here but I can’t receive calls… that is strictly a software issue. One they don’t seem to be able or willing to address.

    FYIW, I spent 34 years in communications including stints as the AT&T Network manager in New Orleans and later selling much of the equipemnt used to operate and manage networks of this type.

  • E. McPan says:

    I’m in the same boat except our phones are based on the coast in MS. We can’t receive calls but I’ve been able to make calls out. Our text isn’t as reliable, though. I heard that at least on the MS coast, they’re getting cell towers put in (Nextel and Verizon) faster than land lines will be available. Our zip has rarely matched our area code, and it’s never been a problem with Verizon.

  • Mike strock says:

    Like Tom, I’ve used teleflip in the past and it works great. This is probably well known, but don’t put the () around the phone number, it should be like this:

    4255551212@teleflip.com

    Hope that helps.

  • Tom Siehl says:

    If anyone needs to do text messaging,there is an easy way to do it to any cell phone.just send an e-mail with this in the TO linein place of the e-mail address:

    (yourcellphonenumber)@teleflip.com.

    Ex (513-555-5555)@teleflip.com

    The e-mail will be converted to a text messageand sent to any cell service phone that canhandle text messaging. You do not need toknow the provider or use their web site.

    http://www.teleflip.com

    I got to this site from Buzznovation. I met Buzzat High Tecc this summer. Buzz told us aboutTeleflip.

    Tom SiehlLebanon Ohio

  • Stanley Feldman says:

    First, get rid of Sprint! They don’t have to do anything except provide necessary service under tough conditions. RED TAPE!

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