- AT&T scared customers with an email telling them to upgrade phones to continue service.
- However, it didnâ€™t say customers had until February 2022 to switch, making some wonder if it was a scam.
- The carrier said the omission was a mistake.
AT&T has been accused of misleading customers before, but its latest incident was particularly worrisome for some people â€” if apparently unintentional.
Android PoliceÂ reports that AT&T customers received an email message telling them their phones are â€œnot compatibleâ€� with its latest network technology and need to be upgraded to â€œcontinue receiving service.â€� Thatâ€™s slightly worrisome when the phones are relatively recent, like Samsungâ€™s Galaxy S10e or the Nokia 6.1. One S10e owner on AT&Tâ€™s forum wondered if the message wasnâ€™t a â€œscam.â€�
The email linked to a support article making clear that customers have until February 2022, when AT&T shuts off its 3G network and stops supporting phones without HD Voice calling. AT&Tâ€™s message didnâ€™t clarify that, though, making it sound like customers are losing service soon instead of a year and a half later. The carrier added to the confusion by sending messages to subscribers whose phones do support HD Voice.
In a statement to Android Police, AT&T characterized the omissions as mistakes. It acknowledged that the email â€œshould have includedâ€� the 2022 cutoff date, and that only customers without HD Voice â€œshould have receivedâ€� the message. The provider recommended contacting customer support if there was any uncertainty about a phoneâ€™s long-term future, although it stopped short of promising a clarifying message.
Whatever AT&Tâ€™s intentions, the timing of a message like this was more than a little unfortunate. It was effectively telling customers to spend money on a new phone in the middle of a pandemic defined by economic hardship. Thankfully, the truth is decidedly less alarming. If you do have an affected phone, you still have the better part of two years to plan your upgrade strategy.