Vienna residents say AT&T slow to fix cell service problems

Residents of Vienna, MO, said Thursday AT&T is doing a poor job of responding to complaints of bad service. Residents told KRCG 13 service has been bad for years, but things came to a head last week when cell service dropped to zero.

"Over Labor Day weekend, I had absolutely no service," resident Gary Travers said. "No texting, no calls, no nothing."

Proximity to a cell tower did not improve the situation. Jeff Burns, who lives in nearby Brinktown, said he lost all reception last week, even though there was a tower practically in his back yard.

Several residents, including Bev Oaker, said they contacted AT&T repeatedly about the problem and got no response each time. Oaker said she called the company and was put on hold for 30 minutes before she finally gave up. She said a friend of hers finally went to AT&T's Rolla office, where he was told service would most likely be restored between the 6th and the 10th.

With cell service down, residents used whatever other tools they had available to communicate. Many relied on Facebook since Internet service was unaffected, but some residents do not have Facebook accounts.

"A lot of people don't have landlines," Bev Oaker said. "They rely on their cell phones and without their cell phones they have no way of communicating with anyone."

Oaker said the loss of service made things particularly tense for her because her daughter is almost nine months pregnant. Oaker said this meant frequent trips into town to make sure her daughter was all right.

KRCG 13 asked AT&T about the problem. In a statement the company said, "Some AT&T customers in Missouri may have experienced intermittent issues with 3G voice service Thursday morning. Technicians worked to quickly resolve the software issue, and service is currently back up and running normally."

As of Thursday, service had been restored but residents say it's still very spotty.