Tower outage affects local cell phone users
January 21, 2014
VAIL — Many AT&T customers were off the grid Monday and Tuesday following a cell phone tower outage in Vail.
According to AT&T representative Bria Mills, a "degraded" tower located on Vail's North Frontage Road is causing the problems. As many customers found out, that translates to a major outage — AT&T 3G service was down, impacting data functions and calling, although some customers were able to text and even place calls occasionally.
The problem was reported at 3:56 a.m. on Tuesday, Mills said.
Suzanne Trantow, of AT&T corporate communications, said technicians found that the landline connecting the cell site to the rest of the network had failed. The equipment was repaired and service was restored at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday. There is one other service tower in the area, which remained in operation.
“This is strange, even for AT&T. I’ve never experience a full-blown outage like this since I’ve had their service.”
"We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers," Trantow said.
Cell phone users in Eagle-Vail, Avon and Edwards had been reporting service outages since Monday, and there were complaints of spotty service throughout the holidays and early January in the Vail area.
Other customers said they were unable to send messages and make calls, with their service bars ranging from nonexistent to full signals.
Edwards resident Steve Klehfoth said that he and his wife weren't even been able to send texts for all of Tuesday. His phone fluctuated between full bars and none all day, and he was told that incoming calls go straight to voicemail. His wife, Jessie, experienced problems for even longer and was unable to place calls on Monday either.
"This is strange, even for AT&T," Steve Klehfoth said. "I've never experience a full-blown outage like this since I've had their service."
Eagle resident Allie Bradshaw works in Edwards and said the outage has been frustrating.
"I have perfectly fine service in Eagle, but the minute I exit I-70 into Edwards, my phone goes off the grid. So far it has happened both Monday and (Tuesday), and my phone just says 'searching' or 'no service,'" she said on Tuesday afternoon. "I know that my co-worker has had the same problem. He lives in Edwards and didn't have service all weekend … you would think that they would reach out to their customers and warn them about what's going on — guess not."
'Time is money'
Others said the prolonged outage was more than just an inconvenience. John Cummins, owner of Marmot Electric in Edwards, said his entire office suffered on Monday due to the AT&T outage.
"All 10 of our employees use iPhones to make calls, email and all the other offerings smartphones provide. Yesterday was a train wreck to say the least, especially in the Edwards area," he said. "Time is money, and yesterday cost us some."
Another Edwards resident, who works in sales and marketing for a ski company, said he was driving to Eagle or Vail, where his phone worked, to conduct business.
"For me, having my phone operating is crucial. I just sent a fleet of next year's A/T and telemark skis to Utah for the national Outdoor Retailer show, as well as trying to finalize my appointments for the huge SIA show in Denver later next week, and I need to be able to communicate to hear how the skis are going in Utah as well as make and accept calls to and from my accounts and our main office. Basic business stuff," he said. "I shouldn't have to drive 10-20 minutes just to use my phone."
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and firstname.lastname@example.org.