Okay, AT&T, which is it? A scam, an honest mistake, a reality? AT&T is being accused of using fear-mongering to scam customers by sending out an email stating that users phones are “not compatible with the new network and you need to replace it to continue receiving service.”
Here’s the thing: it’s not true. Well, at least not exactly. One critical detail AT&T conveniently left off their upgrade email is the fact that the service they’re touting won’t be in effect until February of 2022. This is when AT&T plans to decommission its 3G network.
Here are two examples of the AT&T email…
The timing of this alleged scam is particularly egregious, taking place during a pandemic when funds are extremely tight for many Americans. The email’s language and tone make it seem like customers need to get out quickly to purchase a new device. They claim obtaining said device is as easy as 1, 2, 3. They then detail both free and fast shipping options.
The confusion created by this communication is evident. It is easy to see AT&T customers in a panic, running out to their local store masked, trying to purchase a device they wouldn’t need for another two years with money they may not have.
At first, some thought to be a scam by a third party. There are plenty of those going on, crooks trying to find any way they can get into your bank account. So, the AT&T forums lit up with questions about scams. How real was the email? Many agreed that it probably was a scam and were ready to blow it off. That was until a heady customer pointed those in question to the AT&T support page that spoke of the February 2022 date and what it means.
So why, AT&T, does the support page state clearly that their 3G is going away in February 2022 but the email sent out to customers mentions nothing about the date? What it looks like is AT&T is slyly trying to boost teir sales with a little scare tactic. They omit the date, even though the rest of the details are true. And what their support page did explain about the upcoming (two years) change is that 3G and certain 4G wireless devices will no longer have HD voice support. For them to continue on with voice support, customers will need to own a device that have 4G LTE and HD voice. A little misleading can go a long way to the bottom line.
It’s not a great look for the cell phone company and AT&T has since attempted to backtrack, stating the email was an honest mistake. In their words, “This email was one of many planned to keep customers informed about the shutdown of our 3G network in early 2022. It should have included the date that certain devices would no longer be supported. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and will be more clear in future updates.”
By the time this update comes into play, there will be more purchase options for customers and it is quite possible 5G will be the norm. So, do you buy it, AT&T customers? Or will you buy it now, like they hoped you would?