View Full Version : Alltel coming to OKC

07-22-2005, 05:26 PM
After reading this story, I am staying as far away as possible from Alltel. I am very satisfied with my Cingular service.

Alltel to launch city area service
By Jim Stafford
The Oklahoman

Alltel Corp. will launch its Oklahoma City area wireless service Monday with a new digital network, new phones and a chance for former AT&T Wireless subscribers to wiggle out of their contracts penalty-free.

"If they choose to not go with Alltel we are not going to apply a termination penalty on their original AT&T contract if they choose to go to another carrier, said Bill Oltean, Alltel's vice president of retail services in the Oklahoma City market.

"They are going to have a choice and we hope their choice will be Alltel," Oltean said. "We are going to lay a plan in front of them that meets or exceeds anything out there."

Little Rock, Ark.-based Alltel quietly has spent the last four months "overlaying" its own digital technology over the old AT&T network of approximately 130 cell towers. The new network should be up-and-running by Monday, Oltean said.

The company will mail thousands of get-acquainted brochures Monday to the customers it is inheriting from AT&T Wireless. It is setting up four metro area "conversion" locations in addition to the nine retail stores it has to handle the conversion to Alltel calling plans and phones, Oltean said.

New Alltel customer Kelly Jasper of Yukon greeted the news of the company's offer to switch carriers without penalty with a muted enthusiasm. Her service has been plagued by dropped calls since Alltel took over the former AT&T territory, she said.

"I'm probably going to check out my options and see if there is a better plan with some of the other companies," Jasper said. "There is so much competition like U.S. Cellular coming in."

Oklahoma City subscriber Shawn McBride was so disgruntled with her new Alltel service in the interim period that she faxed a letter of complaint to Oltean and several media outlets.

Alltel's offer to allow unhappy subscribers to switch carriers without penalty alleviated some of her concerns, she said.

"That frees me to do my job which is to do some consumer research and decide which company to go with," McBride said. "My real concern was that I was getting lousy service and being held to a contract that I felt was not binding."

Oltean said the company has invested $29 million into the network conversion and has hired 25 new retail employees in addition to the approximately 100 it inherited from AT&T Wireless.

Alltel offers rate plans at three levels beginning with a plan that includes what it calls "Greater Freedom" coverage over a five-state area. It also offers unlimited nationwide calling plans.

The Greater Freedom plans, starting at $39.99 per month, allows every call from an area that includes virtually all of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri to be made as a local call. Long distance also is included for calls made from within those five-state areas.

New phones will be available for as little as 99 cents, depending on the calling plan and contract, he said. Oltean said he has visited with numerous customers about their concerns and has assured them that "help is on the way," when the new service is launched. "As I've talked to customers, as soon as they feel they are not going to be backed into a corner with a carrier, once they know they are going to have those choices, they seem to be much more open-minded," he said