This is a pretty prime example of an effect Ive seen in internet forums related to service.
When someone posts about a problem a whole lot of people reply with the same problem. It happens because out of the 400 people at any point in time that are browsing a forum like HowardForums Cingular Forum, quite a few may rebember having that issues in recent times.
It does unfarely cast a bad shadow upon the company in question because only a handfull of people will have theses issues more than once in a blue moon or outside of normal conditions (IE: your call will drop when you go into a tunnel).
As for the incedent in question, there is no national outage (and a outgate covering more than one or twomarkets is quite unlikely, considering the diversity and segmentation in the company in question's systems) and a rise in issues could be attributed to the shutting down of redundant BTSs (towers) and conversion of redundant or un/underused BTSs to UMTS from GSM and TDMA.
BTW, if your still using TDMA (IS-136), you really need to get out of the 90's, its 2005.