As thousands of students made their way to the Big House for the first home football game of the season, many with AT&T phone services faced challenges they weren’t expecting.
For many AT&T customers in the Ann Arbor area, Saturday brought a service outage — meaning AT&T customers were not able to use their phones to place or receive phone calls and text messages. AT&T customers reportedly complained of service disruptions through late Sunday evening.
Amy Grundman, an AT&T spokesperson, wrote in an e-mail that AT&T is aware of the difficulties with its services in the Ann Arbor area and is working to fix the complications. Grundman did not indicate whether or not the system would be fixed in time for the much-anticipated Notre Dame game this weekend at the Big House.
“We’re aware that some AT&T wireless customers experienced intermittent service disruptions in downtown Ann Arbor during last Saturday’s University of Michigan football game,” she said. “We’re responding by adding capacity to cell sites that serve the campus area to support fast-growing wireless network volumes driven by increased smartphone use.”
Grundman said she expects the problems will be fixed over the next few weeks, but that she didn’t know a specific date.
Grundman also said AT&T appreciates their customers’ patience and apologize for any inconveniences.
Many students were affected by Saturday’s outage, including Engineering junior Nelson Palomaki, who said he had trouble with his phone before and during the game.
“I couldn’t get or send any texts,” he said. “And later I got 50 from people who were trying to get in touch with me.”
Andrew Martin, also an Engineering junior, said the most frustrating part of the AT&T phone service outage was his inability to reach other people to find out where they were and to try to meet up with them.
“It was frustrating, especially when I had friends that were sitting in different seats and I was trying to get in touch with them, but couldn’t,” he said.
LSA junior Jeff DeSano said he experienced difficulties in past years during football games, but that last weekend was worse than normal.
“Every game it seems to happen, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “But last week was pretty extreme.”
DeSano said he didn’t get service back until Monday morning, which was especially annoying when he was trying to reach people on Sunday.
LSA sophomore Calvin Gee said his phone didn’t work while he was in the Big House and only started working again once he was walking back toward his apartment.
“There was nothing really in the way for interference but I just didn’t have any signal,” he said. “I couldn’t even make a call or text message or use the Internet. Nothing really worked so there was no point in using it.”
LSA sophomore Cassandra Pentzien had a similar experience with her phone working outside of the stadium, but not while she was inside.
“It seemed like I could make calls and text outside the actual stadium, but right when I’d go inside the stadium with my phone my texts wouldn’t go through and I wasn’t able to make any calls,” she said.