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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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British Virgin Islands Invasion via Cingular

Dear Source:
You make and receive local cell phone calls within the Virgin Islands and then the cell phone company charges you each month for additional "roaming" charges.
Weak Cingular cell phone coverage on the islands leads to other Cingular signals to pickup your call and thus you incur roaming charges without leaving the islands. Cingular customers are assessed roaming charges without their knowledge and only by reviewing your bill do you realize that you have been in the BVI and did not know it.
Due to poor Cingular Wireless cell phone coverage, there are two other problems:
Dropped calls: Significant number of dropped telephone calls each month
Dead spots: There many areas in islands where the cell phone is unable to get any incoming or outgoing calls. So common is this that often if I am in mid-conversation I will interrupt to announce that I may loose you due to a dead zone.
Cingular Wireless billing system is so that its customers are unfairly charged for incoming/outgoing calls made within the Virgin Islands but at roaming charge rates. My most recent incident of this was a call from the Hull Bay area to my buddy Henry in Bolongo. The 12-minute call incurred $42.00 in roaming charges
Seeing my bill more than doubled the next stop was Cingular's office. Before I could voice a complaint the customer service representative got a form out and started to write. She explained that the BVI turned up their signal strength causing U.S. Virgin Island Cingular customers to connect to their neighbors via the BVI. This is especially problematic on St. John being so near to the BVI. Cheeky bastards!
There are probably many, many Cingular customers in the Virgin Islands that end up paying "roaming" charges every month. Some are unaware that they should not be charged for roaming charges. Other customers just pay the roaming charges just to avoid dealing with "Cingular's customer service" (perhaps an oxymoron).

Larry Boecker
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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