AT&T cell phone towers in South Walton glitch out

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AT&T cellphone users in Santa Rosa Beach might have noticed spotty-to-no service over the past three weeks.

A first tower went down on March 23 and another followed shortly after, said a representative at AT&T’s corporate office. 

One of the two faulty cell towers that is down is north of U.S. Highway 98 off Bishop Tolbert Road, and the other is located on Windancer Lane, she said. 

“Due to the city replacing a water tower, we have had to relocate some of our equipment in Santa Rosa Beach,” said AT&T spokeswoman Rosie Montalvo. “We are working to put a temporary cell site nearby to provide additional service until the relocation work is completed.” 

Jane Beal, who lives on Masters Court off Dune Allen Loop, said she has not had cell service since March 21. 

“I have called them from my land line every day and I have gone to the AT&T store and they keep moving the date back for when we will have service again, and that is unfortunate,” she said. “We all have been without service for more than three weeks now and I have made multiple complaints. I am fortunate that I have a land line, but we all depend on our cellphone. 

“I see my neighbors out in their yards holding their phones up in the air trying to get a signal,” she added. “People can ask for a refund, but that’s not the point. We went out to eat at Gulf Place the other night and the waiters said that after they get to work, they have no service. This is unacceptable.” 

Beal is not the only one having trouble. 

Debra Cannon, who lives at Gulf Place, switched to AT&T about a month ago. 

“The first week was just OK,” she said. “But the last three weeks, I have had nothing but dropped calls, static and basically no service at all. My only contact has been a reply that the issues should be corrected by April 5.” 

However, the representative at AT&T’s corporate office told The Sun that service to its customers is not expected to be restored until April 16. An adjustment will be made in their customers’ bills, she said. 

Brian Wood, who works in Blue Mountain Beach, offers a suggestion. 

“Both my wife and I have AT&T service, which pretty much ceases to work during spring break and the summer when there are a lot of people in town,” he said. “My cell doesn’t work in the gallery, but if I step outside, it works better. They definitely should upgrade their service.” 

Andre Werneck, manager of the local AT&T store in Santa Rosa Beach, told The Sun that four of AT&T’s towers are being worked on and most of the customers who have called or come in to complain live in the area of County Road 393 and Thompson Road. 

“We don’t know what is wrong, but we have turned their LTE data and voice usage off and that seems to help,” he said. 

Werneck said that they have nine current work orders in the 393 and Thompson Road area and one in Grayton, but he expects a resolution this week. 

AT&T and T-Mobile use the GSM radio system, but Verizon, Sprint, and US Cellular use the CDMA radio system. GSM and CDMA use different towers, different frequencies and different technology, which explains why customers using CDMA report they are experiencing no difficulties.

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