Poor reception by Telus frustrates MRU community
by Bryan Weismiller
Frustrated by their inability to get cellphone reception, Mount Royal University students and staff members are calling for better service from their wireless service provider.During certain times of the day — particularly from 11 a.m.to 2 p.m.— and in certain spots on campus, Telus Mobility clients have reported losing their signals for extended periods. This means placing calls and sending text messages is unreliable or impossible.
“Not being able to communicate has been a big hindrance this semester,” said Dean Michaud, a fourth-year business student who owns an iPhone on the Telus network. Michaud said he’s also talked to several other students who’ve experienced issues with not only Telus, but also Bell and, more recently, Rogers. Students have experienced delays in receiving emails and text messages, as well as difficulty accessing the Internet.
Michaud said that his cellphone reception problems have affected his productivity at school, since he uses his phone to connect with group members, network, catch up after missing a class and to look up general information for assignments.
“Smartphones are a tool for business and right now, education is my business,” Michaud said.
After calling Telus with his complaints in early October, Michaud was told that he wasn’t alone. Several other people had complained, and he was told that there was a capacity issue in the area.
“I knew that it wasn’t going to be something that they were going to solve overnight,” Michaud said. “I just wanted to make my voice heard and let them know that I, as well as others, had been experiencing issues and that it’s been a big problem.”
Telus Mobility spokesperson Chris Gerritsen said the company noticed higher congestion in a nearby tower in early October. He said that capacity was increased on Nov. 7 to address the issue. “The congestion on a tower is related to the explosive growth of smartphone use,” said Gerritsen. He also noted that since students are among the first to embrace new technology, there will still be higher levels of congestion during busy parts of the day, as compared to the capacity load that a tower not located near a post-secondary school would handle.
Carmen O’Callaghan, a Bissett School of Business advisor and Telus customer, said she noticed a service improvement near the end of November, but she’s still experienced issues since the extra capacity was added on Nov. 7.
“My frustrations with Telus as a whole are as high as they can possibly be,” said O’Callaghan, who said she has talked to many people with the same problem.
“The whole series of events and their inability to accept that there were issues from day one is so frustrating,” she said.
O’Callaghan purchased an iPhone after being continually told that her poor cellphone reception was a hardware is- sue, but she still had problems. Altogether, O’Callaghan estimated she spent five hours on the phone with Telus. She also tried using Twitter to contact Telus and going directly into re- tail locations to try and find an answer.
However, it’s not just about the loss of service, but the level of service that bothers O’Callaghan.
“I feel like cellphone providers really don’t care to provide customer service, because you’re locked into a contract,” she said. Dean Michaud said that he’d consider switching service providers if it solved his problem. “It’s not an issue that I’m interesting in putting up with for a second semester,” said Michaud. “If it continues to be a problem in the future then I’ll get more aggressive with my actions.”