TAMAQUA -- A lot of people in part of Schuylkill County are learning how much they rely on their cell phones. Many AT&T Wireless customers have had little or no service for around two weeks in the Tamaqua area. They tell us AT&T service was always reliable but say life without it is frustrating.
At a school bus stop in the heart of Tamaqua, all we had to say was AT&T Wireless and parents started sharing stories of life without cell service.
"It's very, very frustrating."
Laurie Campomizzi showed us her phone. In the upper left it says “emergency calls only.”
We tried calling her and witnessed what she and many others have been dealing with since shortly after Christmas: calls going straight to voicemail, phones getting no service.
“One of my friend's grandmother passed away and they had to go by text message and Facebook because they couldn't call each other. It's very inconvenient,” Campomizzi said.
“I rely it on completely, all my internet. My hotspot for my house internet is even my cell phone,” said Angela Walker.
Walker has no home phone, six kids and now spotty service. At times she has had to make calls.
“(I) beg the neighbor to use the house phone, that's what you've had to do. That's what I've done. I've been missing all my calls though.”
“I have to drive out past New Philadelphia to get any signal and pull over on the side of the road to get any messages. Everything is delayed. It's horrible,” said Gwyneth Navitsky.
Some people in Tamaqua say AT&T Wireless said if they have to make a call, drive two miles or so outside of town where there is service, but for some, that's not so easy.
“I have a day care and they keep me busy all day long and if I don't have a phone,” said Kelly Boerner.
Boerner doesn't have a home phone and needs to be in touch with the parents of all these kids. She tries to text, but they don't always work.
AT&T has offered bill credits to her and other customers but they just want their service.
“If you're not at home on your wifi, you're not talking to anyone, or calling anyone, down to you can't order a pizza, you can't do anything,” Boerner said.
We tried to get an explanation from AT&T Wireless about what's causing the trouble, but didn't have any luck.
Customers have been told it's an issue with a tower that should be fixed by January 19.
some of those customers say service was a little better today, but still spotty for others.