Today, around 4PM ET, I called the 800 help line again to find out the ETR and was told that the issues they were having yesterday (and this morning) were resolved. Interesting, I said, but I still have no service. So, more pleasant chatter and remove the battery and SIM card and wait a couple of minutes, and viola! 3 bars and a 'G', then two bars and a 'U' and then a sad little antenna and an '!' - no service. UG.
The 800 help line person refreshed the webpage that she was looking at and said that about 80 minutes ago (so around 230 PM ET) they were having a new network problem - affecting most users of my type of phone, from maryland to rhode island. nice.
So, the cha-ching... I mentioned to the CSR that I have been without service for two days and asked what I should do to secure a credit after the outage was resolved. She responded, let me check your level of service, then she told me that she would be applying a courtesy credit for the amount of my monthly telephone minutes. I thanked her.
So, if I want to use the phone I can go to the mall, stand outside the Cingular store and I'll have service.