The End of an Era

Today was my last day at Cricket Wireless.

I started at Cricket back in October 2011 as a contractor for the Device Engineering group.  I sat in a different area than the rest of my group and minded my own business for the most part.  I handled the device requirements for Cricket and worked with the different phone manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, LG, ZTE, RIM, etc.) on locking down the features for the phones that Cricket would market.

Somewhere around Spring 2012, the whole group was moved up to the 5th floor (movin’ on up!) and placed together, so I finally ended up with the group!  I was a little apprehensive at first because I liked being left alone, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world after the fact.  I got to know everyone so much better and felt much more part of the team.  I also wanted to learn about the testing of the devices after feature lockdown, so I offered to be the Device Engineer for an upcoming feature phone.  I learned about the Safe For Network (SFN) testing that we did in our device lab, as well as the testing done during the lab entry process, Friendly User Testing (FUT) and eventually the final technical acceptance of the device.

Everything was great and then AT&T made the big announcement that they intended to buy Cricket during the summer of 2013.  The announcement in and of itself did not change the day to day business until the purchase was made final in March of 2014.  AT&T made the decision to replace their current prepaid business called AIO Wireless with the Cricket brand.  Day Alpha was May 16th and that was the day that old Cricket stores were turned over and started selling new Cricket GSM handsets.

After Day Alpha, our lives all changed.

The Device Engineering group in San Diego met with the Device group from AIO Wireless and started supporting them with testing and running FUTs for them.  We got along well with the Atlanta-based team and it looked like there would be jobs available except for just one small issue….you had to be willing to relocate to Atlanta, GA.  Now nothing against Atlanta, but when your husband had a solid job in San Diego and your son has just started as a Freshman in high school, that really wasn’t an option for me/us!

Most of the group opted  out of relocating to Atlanta except for two.  Because we were unwilling to relocate, that meant no job in the “new” Cricket Wireless for us.  Our options were to find a job with AT&T or eventually be “surplussed” when there was no need left for us. Even though we were supporting the team in Atlanta, there wasn’t enough work for everyone and people started receiving their 60-day notices from our group.

Over the months spanning from June to October we all eventually received our 60-days notices and the group dwindled down to finally just two of us left.  After 3+ years, my time with Cricket came to an end.  I learned so much about device certification testing and product management and I worked with such a great group of people.  I will miss our group being together, but I know we will meet and see each other for lunch occasionally.

Today marks the end of the Device Engineering group in San Diego.

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