Officials deny AT&T Wireless service expansion
Local residents itching for an iPhone shouldn't get excited over information on AT&T Wireless's Web site that suggests the company has expanded its network to Steamboat Springs, a company spokeswoman said Monday.
AT&T is the lone wireless carrier that supports the popular Apple gadget that bundles a music and video player, e-mail and other capabilities in a touch-screen cell phone.
Entering Steamboat Springs into the "coverage viewer" on AT&T's Web site brings up a color-coded map that shows "best" coverage in Steamboat Springs, which is a change in information previously displayed on the map. But spokeswoman Vanessa Smith said the map might be misleading.
"We do have one cell site on top of the mountain which may distort the coverage view," Smith wrote in an e-mail Monday. "Our network team is looking to make sure the map accurately reflects the coverage moving forward.
"Again, we have not expanded our network to reach Steamboat Springs and are still dependent on our roaming partner to supply coverage in and out of the area."
AT&T's Web site suggests otherwise in another respect as well. Trying to sign up for wireless service online with a Steamboat ZIP code used to be impossible. But the company's Web site now allows it.
Again, Smith cautioned people not to jump to conclusions.
"It is possible for people who live in the area to purchase our services through our 1-800 number and the Web," Smith wrote, "but again, once the customer travels outside the coverage of the few sites we have in the area, the customer will roam with our partner until they can pick up our network again."
Reached later in the day by phone, Smith said the decision to allow Web and phone service purchases was made because of the addition of the "cell sites." But Smith said such sites are "basically an antennae" rather than "a huge multimillion-dollar" expansion of the company's network.
"This is just supplemental coverage," Smith said.
Smith said the company is expanding its network in Colorado but would not say when full-blown service can be expected in Steamboat.
"We're expanding the network all the time," she said, "but for proprietary reasons we can't discuss where until we're entirely built out."
Steamboat Springs An unexplained cell phone glitch frustrated many well-intentioned efforts to call Mom on Sunday.
Service troubles seemed to affect local Verizon Wireless customers at random on Mother's Day. Residents reported everything from no problems whatsoever to the inability to make virtually any phone call at all Sunday.
"I couldn't make any outgoing calls," Steamboat resident Janine Gleason said. "I was trying to get in touch with my mommy."
Gleason said she was able to send and receive text messages, but that was no help in calling home.
"My mom has no idea how to text, so I couldn't text her," said Gleason, who eventually spoke to her mother Monday.
Gleason's coworker and fellow Verizon user Chris Carnes had no issues at all with his cell phone. Carnes said he let those having troubles borrow his phone throughout the workday.
Verizon officials had no explanation for the problem, which had disappeared by Monday. After being asked about the problems Monday, Verizon spokesman Bob Kelley spoke to technicians but learned nothing.
"No one has any indications of service troubles," Kelley said. "It's possible, I suppose, if they were having higher-than-normal traffic because of Mother's Day, that they may have had trouble making calls."
Gleason said she spoke to three technicians, one of whom told her "something was going on in Denver." She was told to dial *228 to update her phone's software, but that didn't solve her problems.
Matt Anderson, an employee at Verizon-authorized retailer My Wireless in Central Park Plaza, said he had similar problems Sunday, along with some of his friends and roommates.
"I was trying to call my mom in Delaware all day for Mother's Day," Anderson said. "Fat chance."
My Wireless and other Verizon dealers were closed Sunday, but Anderson said he got calls from friends asking for advice on fixing the glitch. Anderson, like the technicians Gleason spoke to, recommended dialing *228, but said it resulted in only limited success.
Anderson said he also never received an answer about what was going on. And with the problem resolved by Monday, there was no urgency to.
"I think everyone pretty much got over it," Anderson said.