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Bottom line, this whole business of carriers controlling the updates has GOT TO GO.  A few nights ago, I had to drive 15 miles out to the only official AT&T service center in my metro area, because ever since I updated my Samsung Captivate to the Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS, I have had a plethora of problems ranging from very poor battery life to bad GPS to lockups so bad I couldn't even turn the phone off without removing and then putting the battery back in (try doing that with some of these newer phones with built-in batteries - DUMB IDEA!).  When I got to the AT&T service center the woman (who had kind of a snotty attitude like I was a number) said there have been some known issues with updates people have done with Kies, and mentioned something vaguely about Ice Cream Sandwich that just got pushed out, so my ears perked up ("ICS is available for the Captivate now?")  That got me excited, even though it's still not the latest Android as we all know, Jelly Bean is.  She said no, she was talking about other phone models that got ICS pushed to it.  Stupid woman, why the he-- would you mention other phones to me when they're not relevant to me??  So no, I found out that AT&T EXCLUSIVELY got a better Gingerbread update (which is still eons behind the latest Android update) with the bug fixes.  But *I*, the customer and the user, couldn't simply have downloaded that bug fix from either Samsung, AT&T, or Google.  And what I say to that is, WHY THE HE-- NOT!!!???  Do the carriers love to just make customers waste gas and time and wait in long lines for something that should be so simple!!??  This is a really FOULED UP way the cell phone industry works in the U.S.


WE THE CUSTOMERS of Android products EMPHATICALLY DEMAND that you carriers RELINQUISH CONTROL over all Android software, and let all of us, no matter what phone or tablet, DOWNLOAD THE LATEST ANDROID OPERATING SYSTEM DIRECTLY FROM GOOGLE.  YOU GOT THAT!!??  Google, are you reading this??  Make downloading and installing Android as easy and simple as upgrading to the latest version of Windows on a PC, and leave the carriers out of this whole thing.  And AT&T, if you're reading this, you can stick your uninstallable AT&T Radio and U-Verse Live TV apps up your...

Message 1 of 29


Please check the VZW forums for all the complaints against the VZW Galaxy Nexus.  I'm a Nexus fan and there's no way that I would get that device. I have had Jellybean (officially) on the GSM Galaxy Nexus for around two months now.  The VZW Galaxy Nexus is still on Ice Cream Sandwich.  There were also extensive reception issues reported with that phone.  Some say that an update cleared that up, while some say that it didn't.  I also got access to Google Wallet a lot faster than VZW customers did (without hacking).


However, I understand that price can be a factor in determining the phone that you want.  Still, if you go to VZW, I would recommend looking at a device other than the VZW Galaxy Nexus.  Edited to add:  I almost would suggest getting a used Nexus S if the issues that you mentioned earlier are that important to you, but I really don't like Android 4.0 and higher on a single-core processor phone.  For me, Jellybean actually fixed some of the problems that I had with ICS on the Nexus S, but I still wouldn't recommend it.


I don't think that Quick Reply threads the responses in a different way, but it could be the way that I view the forum.

Message 16 of 29


I'd caution the OP about switching carriers just to get a certain device.  Devices come and go, but you're stuck with the service for 2 years (or cancellation fees) or longer.  Although if you look at the big picture (reception in your area, plan features and prices, etc.) and still think its the right move, than by all means, go for it. 


If you haven't already, at least ask friends, coworkers, etc. in your area how Verizon reception is (and in areas that you spend lots of time, if your travel on the weekends, etc.).  Although I will say that Verizon tends to get better reception than AT&T in my general area (New England), and the times I've travelled to other parts of the country with friends that are on Verizon.

Message 17 of 29


I am seriously considering Windows Phone.  Microsoft is supposed to be responsible for athe OS updates, instead of the carriers.  Also, Microsoft is dictating what specs the phones can have, so the Microsoft just uses the appropriate driver, rather than customising the OS for each of the various devices.  Limiting the device specs is one of the things that keeps Apple from having many OS problems.  I am also getting very sick and tired of the ads in everything associated with Google, and the way Google tracks everything to sell to third party marketers.  Too bad, really, Android has a lot of potential.  

Message 18 of 29


FredW wrote:

I am seriously considering Windows Phone.  Microsoft is supposed to be responsible for athe OS updates, instead of the carriers.  Also, Microsoft is dictating what specs the phones can have, so the Microsoft just uses the appropriate driver, rather than customising the OS for each of the various devices.  Limiting the device specs is one of the things that keeps Apple from having many OS problems.  I am also getting very sick and tired of the ads in everything associated with Google, and the way Google tracks everything to sell to third party marketers.  Too bad, really, Android has a lot of potential.  

Tread carefully with this one.  Just ask Windows Phone users about the Tango update.  While that update may have come quicker than Android updates do, it did not come when released to international and unlocked versions of the phones (using Nokia as an example) similar to the situation that we find ourselves in with Android.


Message 19 of 29


FredW wrote:

I am seriously considering Windows Phone.  Microsoft is supposed to be responsible for athe OS updates, instead of the carriers.  Also, Microsoft is dictating what specs the phones can have, so the Microsoft just uses the appropriate driver, rather than customising the OS for each of the various devices.  Limiting the device specs is one of the things that keeps Apple from having many OS problems.  I am also getting very sick and tired of the ads in everything associated with Google, and the way Google tracks everything to sell to third party marketers.  Too bad, really, Android has a lot of potential.  

I personally wouldn't recommend that somebody switch to a smartphone OS that has a 3% market share and dropping.  And that 3% includes people that own old Windows Mobile phones and still haven't upgraded, an OS that isn't even really supported by MS anymore.  Unless Windows 8 brings about a completely revolutionary change in the WP market share, I simply don't see the OS being long for this world.


Message 20 of 29


In the case of the Cappy - Samsung is responsible for that device not receiving ICS.  No Galaxy S1-family device received it because Touchwizz is too bloated to fit.


HOWEVER, AT&T is 100% responsible for the fact that the Captivate took on the order of 6-9 months to receive Gingerbread after the I9000 released it, AND AT&T is 100% responsible for any issues present in the Captivate Gingerbread release that are not present in I9000 Gingerbread.


Similarly, AT&T is 100% responsible for the 3 month delay or so of SGH-I777 ICS compared to GT-I9100 ICS, and they also maintain 100% responsibility for the fact that the three firmware releases for the SGH-I777, when ranked against Samsung's GT-I9100 firmware releases, rank as the three worst firmwares available.  UCKH7 had a widget that would eat massive amounts of data even if you didn't use it, UCKK6 had a massive pile of power management problems (Which did exist in ONE I9100 firmware release, but users that received that I9100 update received a fix within two weeks - AT&T users had to live with broken firmware for 5-7 months), and UCLE5 has jacked-up touchscreen drivers and still continues to have broken power management.


If you want good devices, DO NOT switch to Verizon or Sprint - being CDMA providers, you are FORCED to obtain devices from the carrier.  AT&T and T-Mobile (and their MVNO resellers, such as Straight Talk) are the only carriers that you can BYOD on.  T-Mobile's use of the 1700 MHz band for 3G severely restricts device compatibility - the Galaxy Nexus is the only device I am aware of compatible with their network that isn't sold by T-Mobile themselves.  AT&T's bands are better supported by international devices.  My personal recommendation, which is likely to be my course of action when my contract is up, is to switch to Straight Talk - They are an AT&T reseller, but unlike AT&T, do not force you to pay a contract subsidy penalty even if you do not have a subsidized device.  If AT&T ever allows a discount for users that do not have a subsidized device, I may change this recommendation, but right now, you have the choice of mangled devices, or paying for a subsidy discount you aren't using.

Message 21 of 29


IMO Sprint and Verizon are one of the worst companies to switch too...although AT&T customer service is pretty bad, their service is the best!
Message 22 of 29


I think the at&t and Verizon services differ depending on where you are. Each one has areas of the country where they are better than the other. People I have known with Sprint say the service is excellent where there is service, but you don't have service everywhere. T mobile is not bad if you never leave a metropolitan area, or major highways, and is trying to get out of the US market.
Message 23 of 29


You want updates straight from Google? Get a Nexus and move on with your life...

Message 24 of 29


I bought the Nexus S a year ago. Yes,I can go out and find OS updates, but AT&T stands between me and Google.

When I check the OS status on my phone, it claims to be up to date. I'm running 2.3.4. I previously used an iPhone 3G and OS upgrades were pushed seamlessly.

At this point, I'm running the experiment to see how many years the delay will be between the time Google makes the update available and AT&T allows the customer to receive it as an OTA update.
Message 25 of 29


I agree with a lot of what you are saying ebinrock!


I think the following changes should be done to the update system:

  1. Allow people to see ALL changes both adds and deletes before agreeing to take the update.  I do not like the absence of transparency.
  2. Allow people to refuse the update knowing that if they refuse that update that all future updates will stop -- meaning they have to get them in order.  I do not like being forced.
  3. Allow people to select / deselect non-consequential applications that are currently required by ATT.  I also do not like some of the applications I am forced to have.

I fully understand why ATT has a different update process outside of Google (even though I too do not like it) and that is they want to retain control over the phone while the contract is in place.  The problem with this is that they are causing many customers to be very unhappy by "controlling it so tightly".  You are making us all feel like we have no control over our own phones.  I think some of those controls should GO AWAY.  I am a grown man in my 50s and I have a clean legal record and I do no drugs of any kind and I have a good job / career.... why am I treated as a 2 year old by ATT?


Eric Joy



Message 26 of 29


I decided to write ATT about this.... please review my letter that I will be sending out on Monday!


February 3, 2013

AT&T Wireless

PO Box 1809

Paramus, NJ 07653


Dear Sir / Madam:


I am writing you today because I have a concern about your service.  First off you must know this letter comes from many situations like this and only serves to finally tell you about a part of your service that I think is seriously lacking.


Secondly, before I start I must tell you that from a pure customer service perspective that your company is actually not that bad… you must know that it is not the “customer service” I am complaining about here.  If I had to put the complaints into one category (and clearly you will see later it does not fit into one) I guess it would be under technical service.  Notice I said “technical service” and not “technical support”.  I purposely said it like that because I feel what you people offer is clearly NOT technical support.  In the time I have been an AT&T or Cingular customer I have on three or four occasions wanted to cancel and move to another carrier and nearly did once.  There are other carriers that are not quite so restrictive and I have considered jumping ship on many occasions to one of them.


There are five areas where I feel the AT&T philosophy fails greatly.  All of these points relate back to my phone (Samsung Galaxy S3 SGH-I747), my family’s phones (mixture of Samsung Galaxy S2’s and S3’s), my friends phone (also a S3) and my service.  There is also a story in here that relates to an old Motorola Razr that I had years ago.  Here are the fine points of my letter:


  1. AT&T Update Service for Android phones should tell you the update you are receiving and it clearly does not.  So people are forced to take an update clearly not knowing what it is about and what it is for.
  2. AT&T Update Service for Android phones updates via the 4G connection when it should not.  What if people have low bandwidth packages and cannot afford that.  This item is not 100% substantiated but I cannot get an AT&T customer service representative to confirm it for me, more on this later on.
  3. AT&T Update Service for Android phones forces an update on these phones.  You are given three opportunities to postpone and then it finally forces the update on you.
  4. AT&T Customer Service clearly has no clue.  Most of them do not know what the update number is a person is receiving and some even though they might find the version number clearly do not know how to tell the customer what is in the update OR where to find it.
  5. AT&T Update Service for Android phones does NOT consistently get applied to all phones.

NOW let me expound upon the previous bullet statements.


I have been a loyal AT&T (before that Cingular) customer for a very long time.  I have paid enough money into your company to probably put a few families through college.  I am over fifty years old and feel sometimes like AT&T treats me like I am twelve.

I bought my S3 in the summer last year (along with three other Galaxy S2’s for the family) and then later bought my wife an S3 and she gave her S2 to my daughter.  Shortly after buying my phone I started hearing rumblings about how the “Siri like” features would be removed in the Jelly Bean update, then I had the update warning on my phone that (again as I stated previously) tells you nothing.  I called AT&T customer service three times and finally got somewhat of an answer.  The first person I spoke told me there is no way to stop the updates and he had no idea where to find out what was updating.  The second person I spoke to told me he could look up the update number (and did) but did not tell me how to find it and certainly did not tell me what was in the update.  The third person I spoke to not only took the time to find the update number, she also found what was contained in the update and pointed me to where I could find that information if I wanted to.  NOW of course since the AT&T Update Service on my phone tells me NOTHING… I cannot look it up unless I contact AT&T first and only if I can get someone “with a clue”.  My point here is “Why can’t the update service give you a version number or other information so I can look up what this update means?”


During the time I was speaking to that third person above she also researched and told me that the AT&T Update Service works like this: (1) You are allowed to postpone the update three times, (2) Once you postpone it your third time you are forced to take it and finally (3) The update service only updates the software via Wifi or PC, not over 4G.  Flash forward to last week (Week of 1/28/2013)… On my phone was another update notification of which I saw and immediately disabled my Wifi and postponed the update.  I was planning on trying to call AT&T to find out what it was about but did not have time at the moment.  On Thursday, 1/31/2013, I was in a meeting and had my android phone sitting next to me and saw the update service issue the second attempt to update.  Since I was told they never update except over Wifi and PC I tapped the “Continue” button and (based on past experience) assumed it would not install (fail due to no wifi connection)… well it did not fail… it loaded.  Now there are several possibilities here I have not had the chance to interrogate.  It is possible that I was on the ATT Wifi network but doubt it.  I was planning on checking that this next week.  I also KNOW for a fact I was not on a company Wifi because no personal phones are allowed on that network and as such mine has never been connected and in fact cannot be connected because it requires a certificate I cannot install on my personal phone.  Now I ask of you, “Why does my AT&T Update Service allow for an update of a major type to be installed over my 4G service?”


Also as a result of my conversation above with that third party, I just want to know why AT&T feels the need to control my phone so much that they force updates on me?  I feel like I am being treated like a kid.  I fully understand some level of control over the phone because it is under contract but not to this level.  I think most people would respect you more if you allowed them to choose what updates they wanted and at what time they wanted them.  Now having said that I understand that there are scenarios where the security of your network is in jeopardy… I get that.  If a person was asked to get 4.0.4 when they had 4.0.3 and they refuse it then they either would not be able to update to any future updates OR maybe the other updates are included in future ones.  This way the feature enhancements would naturally force people to update over time.  For example if the person has 4.0.3 and they refuse 4.0.4 and 4.0.5 due to concerns over something they read in the release notes or blogs... then along comes 4.1 and has a bunch of really cool features… they have the incentive to get the update now.  Also if a major update to something like Play Store is causing it to not work in an older version then they might also choose to update to that major release in order to restore Play Store.  There are other examples of “control” AT&T has over the phone that are ridiculous (e.g. Removing features people like, adding applications people do not want, etc) and I think if you treat people with a little more respect, you might increase your user base.  So my question here is, “Why <explitive> do you control the phone so tightly and why <explitive> do you force people to update when they might not want to?”


Even though my fourth point was previously made, I have another story to tell you about how clueless your team is when it comes to this.  A long time ago I bought what was then a brand new Motorola Razr.  I bought it because on your own website it advertised it had a feature (which was new at that time) that allowed stereo ring tones.  After receiving the phone and trying to load stereo tones and it did not work (they loaded but would not play) I contacted AT&T Customer Service and they said the phone was broke and had another “refurbished” one shipped to me.  This repeated itself nearly three times but on the third phone I asked when I called AT&T to get a Motorola person on the phone with us and coincidentally we ended up with the Motorola Engineer that was lead on the Razr product.  NOW I asked (AT&T rep stayed silent at this point) the Motorola Engineer why the tones would not work and he said because it is not designed to.  After that I realized that one of the following scenarios was happening: (1) Motorola purposely mislead AT&T, (2) Motorola miscommunicated the feature to AT&T, (3) AT&T misunderstood the feature and had it trained like that OR (4) AT&T new of the feature and purposely false advertised.  In any case, AT&T allowed me to return the Razr (even though now I was clearly outside of the return period) and get a different phone.  My point here is this is not an isolated incident… I can sight you many times where I ask AT&T basic (I state again “BASIC”) feature questions and they cannot answer them.  NOW I know they are not expected to have all the answers but isn’t there a database of answers that they can tap into?  Isn’t there training they go on new products?  In some of the cases where I call and ask these feature or technical questions the answer I get is “I do not know” and that might be OK because they most often try and find the answer but also sometimes I get an answer that is inaccurate because either they are not trained well OR they do not want to take the time to verify the answer.


On a completely different side note (related to the above) I ask “Why do you send refurbished phones to a person that has a brand new one and it is still under warranty?”  That is pure stupidity.  If I buy a new phone and discover something wrong with it while it is still under warranty, I DO NOT WANT someone else’s phone that was “refurbished”… I want another NEW PHONE!


Ever since my first FORCED update on my Galaxy S3 I have been asking around and researching and discovered a couple of things.  I know of two people that also have the Galaxy S3 that I have looked at their “About screen” and found that they are NOT getting updates at all and I am, why is that?  NOW that could be timing but help me understand why NONE of the Galaxy S2’s that I bought BEFORE my Galaxy S3 in my house has ever received forced updates?  The AT&T Update Service is not even loaded on them.  What <explitive> is going on?  Why am I being targeted?  I understand I am not actually being targeted BUT clearly there is a consistency issue here.


One last note related to my second point above.  After getting nowhere with AT&T I finally decided to contact Samsung and I asked them a series of questions.  I asked them if they are forcing the updates and they said NO... this is an AT&T policy.  They further said they provide the updates on their website for people to get at their leisure.  I also asked why my phone was updating via 4G and the person said that every update has the characteristic of being an OTW (Over the wire) or OTA (Over the air) update and that my recent update to 4.1 should NEVER have been OTA.  He further stated that he was confused on how the phone did an OTA 4G update.  He said that is not the way it is supposed to work and that they will investigate.  So having said this all, it looks like where many customer service agents tried to blame Samsung for the forced updates that clearly is NOT true.  This is clearly an AT&T requirement and it is STUPID at that.


In closing, I ask you to make the following changes:


  1. The AT&T Update Service MUST show you the version number and tell you what the changes are including the enhancements AND the deletions.  Maybe have a link to a website that spells this out.  Also not mentioned above, you MUST explain why a feature was removed!
  2. Allow people to remove AT&T branded force-ware unless it is critical to the operation or security of the phone.
  3. You need to get with Samsung and together find out WHY the phone did an OTA 4G update and FIX IT!
  4. Allow customers to accept or refuse the updates to android phones if they choose and of course if they reject an update they are not going to be able to take any future ones until they do.  Use positive motivation (cool enhancements) to lure people into updates instead of treating them like kids.  Maybe have a choice of automatic updates or not and put a setting for that in a parental control area so parents can make sure there kids phones update.  I understand, some of this will require coordination with the manufacturer.
  5. Train your customer service people better in the technical aspects of the phones; maybe partner with the companies you buy from better and have a couple of their technicians on staff with AT&T for technical excellence for your teams.  This can benefit the manufacturer also so it is a Win-Win.
  6. STOP the practice of automatically sending someone a refurbished phone if it is under warranty. 


Loyal Customer for over 10 years


Copy To:

Samsung: Telecommunications - Mobile Phones and Wireless Products PR (via email)

Message 27 of 29


Switch to Nexus phone if you want timely updates and less adware.

Message 28 of 29


He's right just switch already to a nexus is only 299 or 349. That just can't be beat.
Message 29 of 29
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