ABC 17 News has been following AT&T wireless in problems in Maries County since September, as well as customers who said the company was ignoring their pleas for help.
Common complaints were the dropped calls and no 4G service in the area.
Missouri congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer saw reports about the poor service on ABC 17 News and arranged a face to face meeting with AT&T Missouri president John Sondag.
Less than a month ago, a regional executive told Maries County commissioners it could be one to three years before service gets better.
“I don’t feel it’s acceptable, but it might be the best we can do,” said Maries County Commissioner Schwartze.
Most in the county said they have all but given up on having good cell service.
AT&T didn’t answer when asked the number of cell towers in Maries County and the number of complaints about service they’ve received since last year.
The company did respond when ABC 17 asked if they’re doing anything to improve services, but they gave an answer that differed from what AT&T told county commissioners.
“He said it could take up to two or three years to cover the county and he didn’t expect anything to immediately improve,” said Schwartze.
AT&T said, “Planned upgrades we are considering for this year include a new cell site in Vichy, adding extra capacity to current cell sites,and upgrading to 4G LTE technology on existing cell sites. We plan to keep the community updated as long as those updates are completed.”
The key word in that statement is “considering.” Technically the company didnt promise anything.
AT&T did tell us they are spending 20 million dollars in Cole, Osage, Maries, and Moniteau counties, but didn’t have a specific amount for each county.
ABC 17’s Daniel Winn checked the signal strength in the city limits of Vienna one last time to see if 4G service had improved.
Viewer Nathan Haynes ran a service test with an app on his phone, and the results were less than convincing.
“0.28 megabytes per second, it didn’t even have time to have an upload rate, and that’s in the middle of Vienna,” said Haynes.
4-service can deliver about 21 megabytes per second.
“It’s frustrating because we pay the same price that you do in Columbia, you would think we have a little better service.”
AT&T did tell us the topography of a county has a lot to do with the service, and Maries County is very hilly.
However, it could be a lack of service issue. AT&T never said exactly how many cell sites are in Maries county.