Since the dawn of cell phones, I have had one number, and it floated between various cell companies over the years, until we built off the grid and then the only company that reached us was AT&T. This being Alaska, we were quite restricted on options. Everything has this number and it would be a nightmare changing it (far worse than changing addresses), so my intent was to keep it. Ok. So I hit the road in my RV in the lower 48 and I had no service – no cell or internet. AT&T Alaskan version of a phone does not come close to the phones offered in the lower 48. Back in 2012, I had lawyers harping at me that I had to make myself available to a phone. I have a phone, but it doesn’t work in the lower 48. In fact, it got to the point, it did not work when I was back in AK. SLOW was its problem. Brought back horrid memories of the old modem days…
So as any wise full-timer will tell you, one needs connectivity when out on the road. Verizon has far better coverage in the areas in which I like to park, so I spent the money to get a Verizon phone. The monopoly of these phone companies not allowing any service to be utilized on any given phone sucks… but it is what it is. So I finally have a solid connect and its a simple joy. And since that time, I added other components to have even better connectivity out on the road. I had no complaints… but I was still carrying the AT&T phone.
Paying $95 + on a phone that doesn’t work in the lower 48 was troubling. I can’t tell you how many times I thought of dropping it completely. Talking with AT&T was not a fun deal. Frustrated with this phone since being back in AK for a few months – it was so dang S-L-O-W I could scream. Before I made the call… I tried one more time to reach out to Verizon.
You see… Verizon has always worked well in Alaska, but Alaskans could not get Verizon… until… Verizon opened in Alaska last year with data, but no cell service. I have been waiting months for them to get the cell started. You see, the CCC would NOT allow me to transfer my Alaskan phone number to Verizon or any other company. I so wanted to rid myself of AT&T I could just drool over something better. Anything.
Last Friday, November 7th, I called Verizon. I had to call to straighten out an end-of-the-month quirk in my transfer of Millenicom data to my Mifi and as I finished that aspect, I asked – “Can I transfer my 907 number to my Verizon phone yet?” Finally… yes.
The transfer was done while I was talking to them on the phone. The instructions were darn simple. Do a hard turn off of the AT&T for 24 hours. And when I got off the phone with Verizon to do a hard turn off of my Verizon phone and turn if back on after a few seconds. OK. Yippee, I was so excited!!! And nothing, no service, nothing. I could neither text or call anyone, nor could I receive.
Now mind you… I’m in Alaska small town, no phone, my friends are all out of town at the moment, no pay phones. I set out walking mid-morning. Stores haven’t opened yet. Went to the library, they had a public phone – but it was being used by several families talking to loved ones overseas. Am told the Visitor center has a public phone, they are not open yet so went looking for any familiar face that might let me use their phone. No such luck. Back to visitor center. Finally can call Verizon. They tell me I need to take it to a Verizon store to get it activated. Guess what, that’s in Anchorage. A good day and a half drive from me, if I had a car, which I don’t. Call Verizon again, “well can you send it to some friend or family to have them activate it?”. I am not comfortable with this concept. So call them again. Went thru the saga of possibly using Wifi to activate and that’s a no go, as there are no Verizon towers near me only AT&T towers. What to do….?
Do you realize how spoiled we are with cell phones? Its weirdly uncomfortable to be without a phone. I had no idea.
I have since learned, via Verizon, that Juneau is fully covered with Verizon service. All I need to do is get within range of a Verizon tower (in Juneau) and I can activate my phone. Its a 4 hour trip one way to Juneau via ferry. But how can I get to the ferry terminal? No shuttle, taxi and no friends home to take me. Dang. I can’t call other mobile numbers or long distant numbers from the visitor center (thinking I could find out when my friends get home). So like everything else I’ve learned these last couple of years… let it go, don’t worry about it. Went home and continued working on my boxes.
My curious friends who wondered why I hadn’t answered there calls… came over late last night – they are home! Yippee! We set about figuring out the ferry schedule – as its hard in the winter, so few ferries run. So Monday night, 11:45p I will set sail to Juneau and will arrive at 3:45am, hang in terminal and turn around and come back to Haines on the 7 am ferry. Thanks ferry folks for helping me figure that out – other wise I would have had to wait two days to get back.
And life goes on…