Some AT&T callers hear "the area code or number as dialed is not valid"

Ever since porting my phone number from AT&T to a VOIP provider (Callcentric), I’ve had some AT&T customers (callers) tell me they can no longer call my number. When they dial my number, they hear “the area code or number as dialed is not valid.”

I’ve narrowed it down, I think, to two or three central offices.

I know one of my customers called AT&T and filed a complaint. For the next couple of days, I received several (about six) hangups from “ATT” and "A T T C A"
as it appeared they tried to work through the problem. But that customer reports he still cannot call.

I can call the customers, BTW. They just cannot call me.

Is there a way, short of filing a complaint with the FCC, to get AT&T to fix this? Will filing a complaint with the FCC even work?

Any tips would be appreciated.

Open a trouble ticket with Callcentric.

Did that. They couldn’t duplicate the problem, as it only happens if you’re dialing from two or three central offices. There is apparently no mechanism for them to contact another telco on a higher level and report such trouble. Their suggestion was to have my customers w/ AT&T service open trouble tickets. “The more, the better.” LOL.

I found the CID for the AT&T tech that was dispatched to one of my customer’s houses and called this tech (his name is Mike). Seemed like a nice enough fellow, he said he couldn’t call my number from my customer’s house, but was able to call me from his cell. But he couldn’t reach anyone in the CO, so he handed the ticket back in, expecting someone else to follow-up when someone could be in the CO.

He (Mike) then handed the phone to Jerry (another AT&T tech) who told me my problem was probably that the older switches couldn’t handle my new digital connection. I pretty much called B.S. on that.

So I explained I had downloaded my call logs and I was cross-referencing them for prefixes from which I cannot receive calls. I told him I was contacting at least 10-15 customers from each prefix and having them open tickets (which I am actually doing, I will even compensate customers willing to help me). He didn’t like the sound of THAT. He discouraged this strongly.

He then said they’d run an “analyzer” and see if they could figure anything out.

So there it stands. Starting next week the techs are going to have guaranteed work as I have customers start to open tickets. I’m going to start slow in hopes they find the problem and correct it. But I’ll be able to ramp-up pretty fast if they ignore me.

I’ll post results when there are any.

You are on the right track, having the AT&T customers that can’t dial you open tickets is the best way.

This is a “translation” issue from AT&T’s perspective. When the port ocurred the wire center that serves the exchanges did not get a proper PIC update to the new carrier.


So I filed an FCC complaint against AT&T. The complaint basically said that, since switching to VOIP, I have not been able to receive calls from AT&T customers on one Milwaukee-area wire center.

About a week later, I received a call from a nice lady from AT&T (Atlanta) saying they would be looking into it. A day or two later, I got a call from a different AT&T person (Dallas) that kept saying he “worked in the office of the president” and that there wasn’t anything he would do because I wasn’t an AT&T customer.

I explained the people trying to call me were AT&T customers.

“Can’t help you,” he said.

He kept saying stuff like “too bad you aren’t an AT&T customer, we’d be all over this.” As a former AT&T customer, I just kind of chuckled. This AT&T guy did say I could have my provider call him, and he’d tell them what to do. I told him I wouldn’t waste their time, “thank you very much.”

So, with the permission of two customers, I filed FCC complaints against AT&T saying their calls wouldn’t go through to my number. I didn’t want to be a complete jerk, so I figured I’d start with two.

In the complaints, I mentioned the original complaint (made by me) and noted that AT&T’s “office of the president” refused to do anything about it.

So I got a call from another nice AT&T lady (Atlanta again) and she said she would look into it. This time, a day or two later, I got a call from an AT&T tech and he said he was working on the switch. An hour later, I got a call and he said “all fixed.” And, in fact, I was able to verify this by having customers call me.

A couple hours later, the nice Atlanta lady called and asked if I was satisfied. Of course I was, but she left me with contact information if I should have any more problems.

All the AT&T people I spoke to were very nice and helpful, except for that one guy that claimed to work in the “office of the president.”

Telco’s will only work with the customer of record.

Our simple policy is to have the folks that can’t call one of our DID’s to sign an LOA. We then call their LEC on their behalf and open a ticket. From that point normal escalation is all that is required.

On a good note these “stuck ports” rarely last more that 30 days as the translations are refreshed every time the LERG comes out (Local Exchange Routing Guide).

Interesting note about the LERG. This particular problem had gone on for over a month.

But the entire problem seems to have been compounded by the fact that the people that couldn’t call me didn’t have long distance service.

I guess they are in a position where they don’t want people making long distance calls from their phones.

So I’m not sure how much the problem they were experiencing was due to a bad port of my #, and how much was due to the fact that their AT&T account doesn’t have any LD service.

I have read accounts on the Internet that seem to indicate that AT&T will sometimes route local calls as AT&T LD calls, but then any extra LD charges are fixed during billing. There were at least a couple of accounts I read from people that were told this is the way it works (sometimes), but were having billing problems because their bills were coming through with LD charges for local calls.

So maybe if you tell AT&T to remove any and all LD service from your account (as my customers had done), then this method to route local calls via LD breaks? So when my # went from AT&T to Callcentric, perhaps AT&T’s switch was going to route it as a LD call and “fix it in billing,” but the customer had a “NO LONG DISTANCE SERVICE” on their account, so they couldn’t call me.

I know, I’m probably about as wrong as you can be about how all this works.

Still learning.

But if I’m right, and to fix things the technician simply added LD service back onto the accounts that couldn’t call me, well, I’m going to LMAO.

Similar problems used to happen to us here quite frequently in our early days of digital telephony (ca. 2005) but I haven’t seen a similar problem in quite a while.

I kind of think the first tech who said that the older switch couldn’t handle digital calls was a gross simplification of the problem.

As I recall, the problem was with local users who had the 769 area code. 769 Is an overlay area code, so subscribers next door to each other might have different callers from 769 area codes couldn’t dial us at 601 unless they dialed “1” first.

With the ways calls are now routed, even a local call might be routed over a toll circuit.

The switch couldn’t route of a local call through the toll circuit because the customer didn’t have LD service. Lack of LD service simply prevented the caller from hitting the toll trunk.

Just wait until TRUE LNP where a 601 NXX XXXX number might show up in say IDAHO!