Simon's American Idol is partly to blame for Cingular's stand down resulting in idle crews
March 31, 2006 - An inordinate amount of service complaints by Cingular Wireless customers in the past month forced the cellular carrier to quickly identify where the network problems were coming from.Simon Cowell

Thousands of dropped text messages contributed to customer complaints, many of them coming from irate American Idol fans unable to vote for their favorite contestants where candidate selection is allowed up until midnight - a time when some cell sites are taken out of service for maintenance.

Cellular contractors were informed late Monday evening that all projects affecting cell site service, such as antenna swap outs and power bay changeovers were to be discontinued until next Tuesday, say contractors who have received written notification. The hiatus will allow Cingular to identify what portion of their customer problems resulted from sites being taken off the air.

Earlier this month, Cingular projects under the management of Bechtel Corporation were stopped for a few days while the company assessed contractors' safety programs following a rash of tower climber accidents and fatalities. Rumors spread throughout the industry this week regarding the cause for Cingular's construction halt.

This week's Cingular shutdown required some contractors to move their crews to unaffected Cingular installs or other wireless projects. Smaller companies were forced to provide shop time for their employees or have them remain idle for the week.