Alltel Service Down For All Of Minnesota?

According to two frustrating calls to Alltel I made yesterday and today, service is down for all Minnesotans. When I called yesterday and spoke to technical support, the representative was unable to tell me if I would receive any compensation for the time their service was down (she suggested I call customer service and ask them. “Aren’t I speaking to customer service?” I asked. “No, this is technical support.” Helpful.)

So today, 24 hours later and I’m still unable to make outgoing calls on my phone, I grow more frustrated and call customer service. While the rep was friendly and acknowledged that there was a problem throughout the state, she had no idea how long it would take (Hours? Days? Weeks?) and also was unsure if they would offer compensation for lost time.

The specifics of the problem are this: I can send and receive text messages and I can take incoming calls, but whenever I make an outgoing call the phone rings once and says “The number or code you have dialed is incorrect. Please check the number or code and try again. Message 357.” Pretty frustrating when I’m just trying to call my voicemail, let alone anyone else. What should I do, Consumerist?


We’d suggest documenting the outage and asking for a credit once it’s over. Is anyone else having this problem in Minnesota? Did you get better information from Alltel?



Edit Your Comment

  1. rewind says:

    Also, if you want more info, companies ALMOST ALWAYS respond to inquires routed through your state communications oversight department. They (usually) have direct contact with very executive level departments that DO GET THINGS DONE, or at least give you very clear understanding of the issue.

  2. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Looks like a breach of contract, to me. I’d cancel my service because they weren’t providing any!

  3. Cowboys_fan says:

    Sometimes in life, things don’t work 100% of the time and people need to suck it up! Cell service will go down no matter which company you’re with. All you can do is ask for compensation or switch providers, neither of which will solve future outages. Its mind boggling how much people complain because their cell service goes down. Get a landline if its that important to you or *gasp* use a payphone.

  4. Joafu says:

    @Cowboys_fan: Payphone? I think there are a dozen in the entire state of 10,000 lakes.

  5. bunnymen says:

    @Joafu: Yeah, it’s bad enough that I have to make a mental note every time I see one. Luckily, there’s one about a mile and a half from my house. Woo hoo!

  6. UpsetPanda says:

    It’s things like this that make me wonder whether it would be a good idea to get a landline.

  7. STrRedWolf says:

    @rewind and @aaron8301: I’m with you. If it’s been down for a good portion of the day and Alltel’s giving you the impression all they’re doing is panicing, I’d give the state communications oversight department and the state Attorney General a ring… and switch to a GSM provider that has the best coverage.

  8. trujunglist says:


    Wow, I wish I could use that logic when I’m at work and still get paid…

  9. Cowboys_fan says:

    @trujunglist: lol, try working where I work giving internet support. 1/2 my tools for checking your service/email never work and add in the odd day when the computers or phones don’t work and we stand around 6 hrs waiting for them to get fixed. Most of my day is filled with telling people they have to call back so they can get a rep who can do their job.

  10. Zero9 says:

    I just called my sister, who’s an Alltel customer in Minnesota. She said that while Alltel service is regularly sub-par with dropped calls and bad connections, today and yesterday haven’t been any worse than normal.

  11. SpenceMan01 says:

    I’ve got Sprint in Minnesota. I haven’t had any service issues in the 5 1/2 years that I’ve been with them. Customer service isn’t great, as everyone here knows, but I very rarely have to call them, so good uptime is more important for me.

  12. perfectly_cromulent says:

    i have alltel in MN and i’ve had no problems… strange.

  13. cpoteet says:

    Sounds to me like you have the phone on home only, cause if you had it on automatic B or Automatic A it would automatically switch to the roam partners which are Verizon and Sprint. Check the settings by going to menu then settings then probably network depending on which phone or carrier you are on. You can also try changing it from Automatic B or A vice versa.

  14. ninjatales says:

    Tmobile provides credit on your month’s account in case of all day outages.

  15. RottNDude says:

    @ninjatales: And you’ve had experience with this? Boy, glad my provider doesn’t suck that bad… what do you think would happen during a real emergency?

  16. PermanentStar says:

    Cell towers aren’t exactly infallible – and it’s hard for customer service reps, even in technical support to know an estimated time for repairs to be complete, since the engineers typically don’t know themselves until the repair is complete. Besides that, if it is a statewide outage, and a cell tower (for a CDMA provider) has an optimal radius of about a mile to a mile and a half – that’s a ton of towers to check, so if it is all of them, it may take a long time.

    Check your contract, most likely, by the terms of your contract you are allowed a prorated credit for time spent without service – so, if you have a $49.99 plan, and were out three days, you’d likely get a $4.99 credit for the amount you would have paid for those three days of service (and don’t expect the credit to be off the entire bill, since taxes, or additional features may not be able to be prorated and credited)…also, if you are able to send and receive text messages, and incoming calls, you might not be eligible for credits per the contract term.

    You would most likely find the info under “limitations of liability” in the contract, and basically, it should have something to the effect of the fact that the provider is obligated to provide service, but sometimes technical errors do occur, so they will credit you for a prorate – watch out for clauses saying it has to be a continuous outage, or one that effects all services, rather than just one aspect of them.

  17. ninjatales says:

    @RottNDude: They had a couple of outages last year on the tower near my place. Normally AT&T/Cingular doesn’t show up on phone even if I run manual scans. During that period, I was able to get onto the AT&T/Cingular network. Lasted one whole day the first time and half a day the next time I happened but that was late at night when I was getting ready to go to bed. Got a few bucks deducted from the monthly bill but I had to call in to get that done.

    In case of a real emergency, cell phone networks get overcrowded and do not work. This happened during the 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis last summer and also in NYC on September 11, 2001.