1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Sprint in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by vz.t.bls.s, May 5, 2006.

  1. vz.t.bls.s

    vz.t.bls.s New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does anyone know exactly what the deal with Sprint is in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota? Check out the map at: http://www1.sprintpcs.com/explore/c...USER<>ATR_cartState=group&bmUID=1146883125878

    I know that over the spring / summer last year, my Sprint Treo 650 worked all over Montana (Helena, Bozeman, Livingston, Billings, and areas in between). It showed a different SID, but still worked with Vision, text messaging, etc. All calls were billed as normal Sprint calls. The same thing happened in certain areas of Yellowstone National Park (Old Faithful and Grant Village) last summer, and in March in Casper, Wyoming.

    The added Montana coverage is shown on the state coverage map at qwestwireless.com, but the added Wyoming and North Dakota coverage is not.

    I know it has something to do with Western Wireless / Alltel. What exactly is happening? If this continues, it would be a great deal for Sprint customers in these three states.
     
  2. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,292
    Likes Received:
    7
    My Phone:
    HTC Thunderbolt
    Wireless Provider(s):
    VZW, Vodafone D2, Solomo, Swisscom Mobile
    Welcome to WirelessAdvisor. I'm not exactly positive on what's going on there but Sprint and ALLTEL have an agreement there were ALLTEL is basically providing Sprint service in the area in order for Sprint to save their licenses for the area. Sprint uses ALLTEL's towers and ALLTEL manages everything. I only knew that this applied in Montana. Hearing about your experiences in Wyoming and North Dakota is a first to me.
    Can you elaborate a little more on the Yellowstone coverage you received when you were there? What SID was it? Do you happen to know?
     
  3. vz.t.bls.s

    vz.t.bls.s New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Andy,

    I worked in Yellowstone over the summer. As far as I could tell, CellOne had four towers serving Yellowstone: one at Gardiner/Mammoth Hot Springs, one on Mt. Washburn, one at Old Faithful, and one at Grant Village. I was working at Roosevelt Lodge most of the summer, but when we were at Old Faithful or Grant, I picked up "Sprint" service most of the time ... there were a few hiccups here and there. For example, when I transferred to Grant in early September, I only got voice service for a week and a half, then data worked the rest of the season. The service was native-seeming, with Vision, mobiTV and text messaging, and the calls did not bill as roaming. The SID was 1441. Later in the season, I also picked up "Sprint" service from the Mt. Washburn cellsite. At first it was voice only, but eventually data started working, too. I ran across the 1441 SID in Montana, also.

    Over the summer, I never picked up "Sprint" service in Mammoth, although evidentally it has been extended to there, at least according to the maps at qwestwireless.com.

    I still have not seen a map anywhere that shows Sprint service in Yellowstone ... not at Sprint's Web site or at Qwest's (except the new service at Mammoth/Gardiner).

    The SID in Casper in March was different. I can't remember what it was, but it seems like it was close to 1441.

    The partnership makes sense to me ... there are lots of wide open spaces in these states, and it just doesn't make much sense to have a half dozen separate cellular networks. This way Sprint's customers can roam seamlessly and Qwest has more customers to sell its mobile service to. I don't know how things would work on the financial end, but I'm sure that Sprint and Western Wireless could have come up with something reasonable.

    I had wondered if the network I picked up in Casper was the old Qwest network. But I spent the night in Riverton on my way back and did not pick up "Sprint" service there. I wonder what happened to the Wyoming Qwest networks.

    I live in Jackson and it amazes me that Sprint does nothing to market its service here. I have not yet seen one place in town to buy a Sprint phone. Verizon and Edge (Cingular affiliate) are very definitely king here, with Union Cellular (Wyoming company) a distant third. T-Mobile, Nextel and Sprint offer coverage but aren't players at all. Their coverage areas are much smaller than the other three carriers and, as far as I have seen, there is literally nowhere in town to buy their phones. The Sprint service here is from Ubiquitel, not through Alltel.
     
  4. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,292
    Likes Received:
    7
    My Phone:
    HTC Thunderbolt
    Wireless Provider(s):
    VZW, Vodafone D2, Solomo, Swisscom Mobile
    I believe that the reason you are not seeing Sprint service pop up in many places may be because sprint has a clause with ALLTEL that since ALLTEL basically provides their network in the area, they will not sell service there and not compete with ALLTEL in that area. It would make sense, I guess, but there are different opinions on this out there so don't hold my word.

    1441 is ALLTEL's Montana SID. Great to hear that ALLTEL has 4 cellsites in the area, and they have evidentally been upgraded to CDMA digital. Last time I was in the park they were still AMPS(well...that was two years ago, lol).

    Sprint "native" service in places where the ALLTEL partnership exists is probably excellent since ALLTEL's network is awesome in the areas they serve. Verizon definitely serves Jackson and sells service there- I see it there all the time. Union cellular even advertises on some Utah stations reaching into Wyoming that they are expanding with more cellsites than any other carrier. I'm surprised they are third in row.

    I also assume that Cellular One/ ALLTEL has a site in West Yellowstone since their maps show service there.
     
  5. larry

    larry Go Lakers! Super Moderator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    13,715
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    My Phone:
    LG Optimus G
    Wireless Provider(s):
    Sprint
    Andy is correct, Sprint's agreement with Alltel/western wireless for Montana includes a clause where Sprint is not allowed to sell phones and service of their own. The coverage is for sprint customers who are travleing through the area. The original agreement was only for Montana and since then has grown to include Wyoming (Casper) and parts of North Dakota.

    Sprint actually bought some towers from Qwest in Montana and still own them. However Alltel is in control of those as well and Sprint apparently can't use their own towers to sell service there. It's very odd the way this thing played out.

    The big mystery is what happened to Qwest's former network in North Dakota and Wyoming. Once the MVNO agreement with Sprint came to play those networks seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth. You would think QWest would have wanted to keep those networks going and turn them over to sprint or something.
     
  6. vz.t.bls.s

    vz.t.bls.s New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, that is quite an interesting deal between Sprint and Alltel. In a way, I would suspect that everyone's happy. Sprint doesn't have to build out networks in Montana, Wyoming and western North Dakota ... which would be expensive compared to the relatively small number of potential subscribers they would get. Sprint is happy because they get some revenue through the Qwest deal (I assume that Qwest is able to sell service on the Alltel network). Qwest is happy because they get to sell a network that has excellent coverage. Alltel is happy because I'm sure they get a nice check from Sprint each month and they eliminate a potential direct competitor. Still, it's interesting that Sprint has agreed not to sell its service in Montana. Ironically enough, I remember seeing a Sprint coverage map in early 2001 that projected future coverage in the cities of Montana (it was only in the cities ... kind of like the old Qwest network). I think that was before things went sour in the telecommunications business. It finally got built, sort of.

    I've been surprised that Union isn't a bigger player here too. Their coverage in the western part of the state seems to be at least as good as Verizon's, at least according to the maps at their Web site. The demographics of this area make a carrier like Verizon attractive ... some people are only here seasonally, for a lot of different reasons, so a national carrier works better for them. Union probably does better in areas where they are the local phone company. They probably also do very well where they are the only company with service. :) I always scratch my head when I see their coverage map with coverage in Pocatello, Idaho, and Logan, Utah. This just doesn't make a ton of sense to me. They have been adding a ton of cell sites throughout Wyoming.
     
  7. larry

    larry Go Lakers! Super Moderator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    13,715
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    My Phone:
    LG Optimus G
    Wireless Provider(s):
    Sprint
    What actually happened there is that Ubiquitel had planned to build out those Montana cities when they had the affiliate agreement with Sprint. About 2 years ago Sprint made a new deal with Ubiquitel to take back the licenses for Montana and deal with it themselves. Shortly after the deal with Western Wireless/Alltel was formed.



    Sprint and UbiquiTel Announce Agreement on Montana Coverage

    Sprint to Bring Digital Coverage to Montana; Relieves UbiquiTel of Build-Out Requirement

    CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. and OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Aug 5, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- - UbiquiTel Inc. (UPCS), a PCS Affiliate of Sprint, and Sprint (NYSE: FON, PCS), which operates the largest all-digital, all-CDMA Third-Generation (3G) wireless network in the United States, today announced an agreement that will further enhance America's most complete wireless network. Under this agreement, Sprint will extend its all-digital PCS footprint to key markets in Montana, areas formerly assigned to UbiquiTel. Sprint currently provides wireless roaming coverage in Montana.

    "We are extremely pleased with the collaboration between UbiquiTel and Sprint that made this change possible," said Donald A. Harris, chairman and chief executive officer of UbiquiTel Inc. "It's a true reflection of the cooperation both parties exhibited to promote the achievement of our respective business goals."

    "Sprint is committed to providing our customers with the best wireless experience possible," said Tom Mateer, vice president of Affiliations for the PCS Division of Sprint. "This agreement gives us the opportunity to further enhance and expand our coverage, offering a more complete network experience for our customers nationwide."

    The agreement reduces the total population in UbiquiTel's service areas to approximately 10.0 million, 78% of which is currently covered by UbiquiTel.

    Sprint plans to extend its all-digital wireless coverage within the next 12 to 18 months to Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula MT.

    "We believe this agreement, along with the significant expansion of capacity provided during our 2002 third generation network upgrade, will allow us to continue to provide an excellent level of service to our customers while minimizing our capital expenditures and moving us closer to our goal of generating free cash flow to the benefit of all of our stakeholders," said Harris.
     

Share This Page