Our (wife and I) annual wireless contract recently expired with Alltel. Because we are on fixed income and because our monthly usage is so low we decided to not renew the annual contract and purchase a pre paid plan from Alltel. We chose Alltel because it's coverage map was impressive as compared to other pre paid providers.
We were surprised to find that Alltel has a service coverage condition called Two Stage Dial. A condition never encountered during our annual service contract. It works this way. If the signal on the phone shows you are in a digital signal area a call goes through first time dialed. However, if you are in a fringe area that shows the raoming indicator flashing you may be in a Two Stage Dial area.
After the number is dialed the first time, a message is played that says " To complete your call please enter 1, the area code and the number you are calling followed by the pound key now and your call will be completed. Please do not press send after you press the pound key. Thank you for using Alltel". It matter not how you dial the number the first time. manually, one-touch, voice dial the result is the same.
It is especially frustrating when you want to call one of the Alltel three digit service numbers and get the message to redial the ten digit number and have no idea what that ten digit number is. It is troublesome that even 911 appears to be affected. At our age one of the most important reasons we have cell phones is to be able to contact a family member or emergency services quickly by using voice dial or one-touch dial.
My inquiries to Alltel customer service were met with the usual "spin" answers and comments. The answer as to why a two step call is necessary is that it is required when you are distant from an Alltel signal tower and service from a third party service supplier is required to complete a call.
I have no concern on what business or political agreements Alltel has with other service suppliers in regards to roaming coverage. I am only concerned that Alltel implies that it's coverage for pre-paid service is the same as annual contract service. Even at that the two stage call process would not be intolerable if it was made more user friendly. If all a person had to do to complete a call was press the pound key.
Any phone or service technically capable of one-touch dial, voice dial, missed calls, calls made, caller ID, can certainly know what call is currently being made and seamlessly reprocess it with the touch of the pound key. My suggestions to that regard was not acknowledged in Alltel's customer support response to me.
That one inconvienience is the issue that has us looking for a different pre-paid wireless provider.
Spring Valley, Wisconsin