NewsProblem Solvers


Cell customer claims he can't dial 911

Posted at 11:08 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 12:08:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — When we need help in an emergency, many of us take it for granted, just grab your cell phone, and dial 911.

But that's not the case for at least one cell customer, who was able to call the 2News Oklahoma Problem Solvers for help.

The world with cell phones has certainly become convenient for many, yet confusing for others, and even concerning, for a few.

"I worry about people," Jim Rigsbee told us. "I hope no one dies from this situation."

Jim gets his cell service through Assist Wireless, a subsidized program that gives disabled and low-income customers affordable service, sometimes even free.

But Jim fears some of them, like he and his wife, could be at risk.

"I don't want to see anyone suffer because they can't call 911."

That's his concern, John says.

His first phone from Assist Wireless didn't let him call 911.

And it's happened to him twice.

The first time, when he witnessed a nasty car accident and pulled over to help.

"I couldn't dial 911, luckily someone came in behind me and was able to dial 911 on their phone."

Then, Jim recalls the time they found a lost child, wandering aimlessly, and confused.

So he says he had to take precious minutes to look up the regular police number and call for help that way.

"It's a big concern of mine because there's a lot of people that rely on this phone."

When he brought his dilemma to Assist Wireless' attention, they gave him a different brand phone, which worked properly, Jim says, until he had battery problems, and had to get another.

Unfortunately, Jim says he couldn't dial 911 on that next replacement, either.

What could be the consequences, he wonders.

"If I had a medical issue, I couldn't call, or my wife or my house was on fire."

The 2News Oklahoma Problem Solvers repeatedly emailed and called Assist Wireless headquarters for comment, but so far, no response.

So we got in touch with the Federal Communication Commission, which regulates cell service.

An associate bureau chief, Eduard Bartholme, thanked the Problem Solvers for bringing this to their attention.

He told us the FCC will investigate, saying, "we take access to 911 seriously."

If you're having the same issue, the FCC wants to hear from you.
You can do that by:

  • Call 888-225-5322, option 4.
  • Or you can file a complaint by using this online form.

Contact the Problem Solvers:

  • 918-748-1502

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --