Upgrades to a cell phone tower were responsible for service issues in Bar Harbor late in December.

Cell service woes complicate holiday

BAR HARBOR — Many AT&T cell phone customers here reported problems making and receiving calls at the end of December. Planned upgrades to a local tower affected 3G wireless connections on some customers’ devices for more than a week, beginning Dec. 20.

The service issues have now been resolved, according to company spokesperson Karen Twomey, but the upgrade work will be ongoing in the coming weeks.

“Due to site upgrades, some customers may have experienced service issues last week,” she said. “We are working to complete our work on the site and apologize for any inconvenience.”

Ellen Grover, who lives on Glen Mary Road, said Friday that her cell phone was able to receive text messages but unable to make phone calls.

Grover said she was told by AT&T customer service representatives that the outage was due to planned maintenance at an antenna near Bloomfield Road.

The work was expected to be complete and service restored by 3 p.m. on Friday, she said. Her service was active again Saturday.

There is a wireless communications antenna on the Wonder View Inn building, which is close to Bloomfield Road.

“It’s been incredibly inconvenient, especially during the holidays,” Grover said. She felt it was irresponsible of AT&T to withhold information about the cause of the outage.

AT&T officials did not say if customers would be receiving compensation for lost service, but some residents say that they have already received credits on their bills.

Some frustrated cell phone users logged complaints with the state Public Advocate’s Office. Public Advocate Barry Hobbins said he spoke with AT&T officials on Dec 26 and was told that service was completely restored on Dec. 30.

“My understanding is that AT&T was performing a site upgrade in the area that caused the temporary degradation in service,” said Kiera Reardon, consumer advisor for the Office of the Public Advocate.

Hobbins said that the public advocate serves as an important buffer between the public and the cell phone service providers. “Land line” phone service is regulated by the state Public Utilities Commission, he said, but cell phone providers have no state oversight.


Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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