Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
The SeatlePI is speculating that "a single event may have sealed AT&T Wireless's fate: the opportunity for its customers to leave" citing that they were "infamously apathetic" to it's customers.
I can only tell you in my sparse experience this was certainly not the case. As at&t wireless agents/representatives, we had strict guidelines for customer service and were monitored several times each month
netting ourselves a possible "write-up" if any one of those guidelines were not followed.
In addition, in the capacity of my job in the new Cingular structure, we are migrating customers back to at&t each day from Cingular plans and other carriers. When asking customers out of curiosity why, they cite the rate plans were much better, the service area is wider, and the reception was much stronger, among other things. Cingular's goal is to move all at&t customers to Cingular as soon as possible of course, but they are not forcing anyone at the moment. We are still activating new at&t customers everyday. There are also divested markets in which no cingular offers are to be made. So, at&t wireless will still be around in some form or another for a while, even if under the Cingular name.
Yes, I agree that giving the consumer the choice to port their wireless numbers lead many to try out other less expensive carriers, many are regretting that decision and are coming back each day as well.
Full Story with many reference links.