AT&T to accelerate service

What’s more important up here than mobile phone coverage?

Hard to figure anything, right off the top of our headsets.

We’ve heard of people tossing their iPhones off chairlifts, tossing them against the walls, crying real tears and wondering with exasperation how to find a charger once they realize they’ve left theirs at home.

No worries. Maybe. Possibly.

AT&T announced last week that it is accelerating the timetable to complete network upgrades on its wireless service, making it “significantly sooner” than earlier estimates.

The company said it expects to complete network upgrades on wireless assets acquired from Verizon Wireless (June 2010) by the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.

Once network integration work is completed, AT&T said it will launch service for Alltel customers in California Rural Service Area 6, which includes Mono and Inyo counties.

“AT&T has been working tirelessly to upgrade the Alltel network to the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, and we expect that coverage in this area will be as good as – if not better than – it is today, with the ability to talk and surf the Internet at the same time,” said Andy Shibley, vice president and general manager of AT&T’s Greater Los Angeles Area.

On June 5, 2008, Verizon Wireless announced it would acquire the majority of Alltel Wireless in a deal valued at $28.1 billion.

The merger was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on the condition that Verizon divest 105 Alltel markets., including ours.

On May 8, 2009, AT&T announced it would acquire 79 of the divested wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, and 1.5 million current subscribers, primarily in rural areas across 18 states. Verizon Wireless is required to divest these properties as part of the regulatory approvals granted for its purchase of Alltel.

The company, in a press release, said every Alltel consumer customer in this area joining AT&T as a result of the transaction will receive an offer for a brand new AT&T handset at no additional cost.
Customers will be able to choose their free device from a list of the latest AT&T 3G handsets that are comparable to what they have today.

Additionally, the company said, the majority of customers choosing free comparable devices will be able to keep their existing rate plans, and none of these customers will be required to assume an additional contract term.

Customers will also have the opportunity to upgrade to a new device, such as Apple’s iPhone 4, for an additional fee and with a new two-year contract, with current AT&T rates and associated data plan.