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Cingular: No Charge for Roaming*

Cingular No charge for roaming TOn their website (as of 3/20/06) Cingular says “With Cingular Nation, never pay domestic long distance or roaming charges!”  That means, with respect to roaming, if your call is routed over another company’s system, you will not be charged extra.

However, after clicking a link to the plan’s fine print terms, one learns more.

*MOUSE PRINT: “Cingular reserves the right to terminate your service if less than 50% of your usage over three consecutive billing cycles is on Cingular-owned systems.”

Cingular Fineprint roaming T

Translation: If you roam too much, Cingular can turn off your service.

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17 thoughts on “Cingular: No Charge for Roaming*”

  1. Actually, you can use this to your advantage… If you want to get out of your contract. How??? Just find somewhere that is definitely roaming… (look at your bill for roaming, try to remember where you were) then call your home phone (or any toll-free number) and leave it connected for hours… do this daily! After a few days, maybe a week, Cingular will drop you like a bad habit, you’ll get to keep your phone and you won’t pay an early termination fee.

  2. I wish I’d thought of that yesterday, when I tried to switch from Alltel back to T-Mobile! I don’t know if they all have that policy, though. I think you literally have to die to get out of an Alltel contract!

  3. In addition to frequent dropped calls, Cingular has another really bad feature. Their Home Calling Area has vague and ill-defined boundaries. If you place a call when outside of that Home Calling Area, it is not until *after* the call is terminated that “Extended” (roaming) appears on the phone screen. You are charged a roaming fee and related rates. Cingular is aware of this, but basically says, “That’s our policy. Sorry.” They reject the suggestion that “Extended” be displayed *prior* to the call.

  4. I have had a Cingular cellphone for one year, and last fall my husband and
    I were traveling. I called my daughter and left a message for her to call me
    back. We talked for 11 minutes, and my next bill showed that I was charged
    an additional 11 minutes for Cingular’s Complimentary Call Delivery Service.
    When I questioned Cingular, I asked how a “complimentary” service could assess
    me for extra minutes, and the clerk said I was not being charged, it is a
    “Follow Me” complimentary service. We went around and around, but since I
    don’t use many minutes, I finally dropped it, but I still don’t understand how
    a service can be “complimentary” and still assess extra minutes. Yeah, there
    aren’t any ROAMING charges!

  5. “Reserve the right” does not mean that they are obligated to do it. So it may not get you out of a contract.

    I got STi Mobile phones based on a Consumerworld listing. They offer free roaming too. What it means is that if your call goes through, you pay no extra. But as soon as you roam off network, you get a message that you cannot complete the call. They block the networks of other providers.

  6. All carriers have been doing this. Trying to say roaming is free, but it has a less then %50 limit. I know Sprint is talking about getting rid of this limit once they finalize the Alltel-Sprint roaming agreement. But you should always read the fine print. Companies will lie about anything.

  7. I have had the misfortune of being locked in on a “Cingu liar” contract for about a 3 years. When my first contract was about to expire I
    realized that I was not using all of the hours that I was paying for so I requested that the hours be reduced. They agreed to that only they also stated that they were going to also “take” the minutes that I already had paid for and they did. Once this contract is over I do plan on changing to another carrier to be abused all over. After all these companies theft is
    sanctioned by this “government”!

  8. I originally started with Pac Bell PCS, which became AT&T which
    became Cingular. I can go to any Congular store and get a map that clearly that defines my home area. I don’t travel a lot and most of it is
    in my home area. Last year I went to England. I asked first
    and was given International Calling (free) and used my phone
    with no roaming,but I was charged for minutes. OK with me, it
    was great to be able to use my phone. And I read the fine
    print. I like Cingular best, it almost never drops my calls.

  9. To the credit of the agent in Stillwater who sold me my Cingular plan, she did point out the 50% line before I signed up.

  10. wow sucks to be you guys I got Verizon and it works better than my friends Cingular and sprint phones everywhere we go at any time behind a hill Under a rock in my basement at College everywere its just the best.

  11. For years I have had a Cingualr phone, and have argued my way
    through their support representatives time and time again. It does
    pay to be a squeaky wheel (AND to read your bill thoroughly each
    time). When I was roaming into New Hampshire, I found that, even
    though I had free nationwide roaming, I was getting billed a dollar
    a call. When I questioned Cingular, they determined that the roaming
    towers were actually billing Cingular directly, but because their
    systems didn’t understand the direct charge, I was ‘automatically’
    absorbing the excess charge. They did refund me the costs, but I’ll
    tell you that EVERYTHING is worth speaking up about, and never let the
    companies push you around. You are the consumer of their service,
    and if they don’t like how you use it, let THEM cancel you out.

  12. I had cell service with Centennial Wireless, a regional company. I opened a new account in TX, and was told I had no roaming charges. I told the service reps repeatedly that I would be moving to KY and taking the phone with me. I was told that was not a problem, all I would have to do is change my billing address. After living at school for 3 months in KY, Centennial informed me that I was being terminated because I had not used 50% of my minutes for 3 consecutive months in my primary calling area. I was not going to be charged a fee, they said, if I returned my phone in ORIGINAL condition to them. That meant the box, the user manual, charger, and template for drawing my own faceplate inserts. This was a phone I’d had for 5 months already, and of course I didn’t have the box, and there were scratches on the phone. I was charged the $175 early termination fee anyway.

    I switched to cingular, and TODAY, I looked at my bill online, and there was a usage fee of $10 for roaming charges. WHAT?!?! I don’t pay roaming charges! Its included in my plan!. It turns out that while I was at home, visiting in Texas, my phone for some reason connected to a tower that is conveniently located in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is not included in the nationwide calling area, and is considered out of the country, even though the bill says Gulf of Mexico, LA. Meaning Louisiana. Which for some reason, I thought was in the country. I called and complained, and after 3 service reps and a supervisor, the charges were removed. What a hassle.

  13. I work in Louisiana about 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and have been hit with roaming charges up $2000 from Cingular. When I first saw “Cingular Extend” on my phone I called them and asked if I was roaming and the rep. said, “No, you have nationwide and you are in the USA.” Then I got a $2000 bill. After much discussion they removed the charges but told me not to make any calls again if my phone said “Cingular Extend”. I followed that rule faithfully but was charged roaming again and when I inquired they told me my phone had no way of knowing if it was roaming.
    Here are copies of two emails from Cingular about this problem.
    Remember Lousiana is many miles from Mexico or Canada.

    I understand you received international roaming charges, but you stated
    you were not in Gulf of Mexico. Your phones display does not indicate
    the rate at which you will be charged. Charges are based on the location
    of the site receiving and transmitting the call, not the location of the
    subscriber. Fringe service areas are those areas where coverage by two
    cellular operating carriers overlap, examples of such may be found in
    areas near Mexico, Canada, or the islands in the Caribbean. Overlapping
    coverage is common because there are no distinct service lines between
    competing carriers’ cell sites, and may result in roaming charges even
    though you have not traveled outside of your coverage area.
    Unfortunately, the international roaming charges are valid. We do have
    packages available for those who travel frequently that will allow you
    to enjoy discounted rates. Please visit http://www.cingular.com/cingularworld
    for more information.

    We at Cingular Wireless appreciate your business and value you as a


    Your rate plan is the Nation plan and you will not be billed roaming in
    the United States. Your phone may not display extended because you in
    your calling area. Some International towers put out a roaming signal
    and some do not. Cingular does not have access to those towers to make
    them send out a roaming signal. There is not way to 100% verify if you
    are in that same area, if you pick up an International carrier unless by
    experience you know how far in you can go. If you need further
    assistance or clarification, please call customer care at 1-800-331-0500
    or you may reply back to this email.

    So basically what they are saying is that if you have the nationwide plan you still have to pay for roaming and there is no way of knowing if you are roaming until you get your bill. As the representative said you have to go by “experience” and believe me this education is very expensive. Also, it appears that the state of Louisiana is near some international border. Which foreign country would that be? Texas? Mississippi?

  14. We have been with cingular for over 4 years. We have a family talk plan
    with four phones for the mobile to mobile. I live in bentley, la. Its
    about 20 mins from alexandria, la. We have had some problems with them
    in the pass but were always able to resolve them. Until, about 2 1/2
    months ago when cingular and centennial broke contract with one another
    for tower usage. They didn’t even tell any of their customers that was
    affected by this. This was my lifeline to my son away in college and my
    husband that works away from home. I was told by them different things
    about why my phone wasn’t working. It took my a month of calling until I
    could find out the truth! That’s a shame these cell phone companies do
    this from time to time. They said we could break out of the contract
    since I recently purchased 2 new phones. Guess that’s what I will have to
    do. The only carrier here in Grant parish is centennial which does have
    roaming. Between a rock and hard place here.

  15. I can tell you that I’ve heard of several people being dropped by Cingular using this clause in my area. Luckily, I do not use my Cingular phone in those areas that often, so I have not gotten dropped yet. FYI, a good area w/o Cingular coverage is in Northeast Missouri and Western Illinois.

  16. I have had Cingular/ATT for 7 years on these numbers. I live near the Canadian border, when I moved here I was told by every one and the Congular store that they knew about the CA fringe roaming and that they would credit the overages. For years it has worked, but the last year or so, something is different and they are hassling me more.

    I was told by a rep this month that AT&T still has to pay the roaming fees to the CA carrier and they want to cancel accounts like mine. This means they are at fault but they would cancel my service rather than attempt to fix it and would rather cancel an entire community rather than seek a fix.

    I don’t know the final resolution yet, but their corporate policies are created by idiots!

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