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

Wireless Carriers in Alaska

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by TProphet, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    0
    A forum member wrote to me and asked whether there is a comprehensive listing of wireless carriers in Alaska. To my knowledge, there isn't one. However, here are the ones I know of. If you know of any others, please post them in this thread.

    ACS: Largest provider statewide. They operate AMPS/TMDA on the cellular bands and CDMA on the PCS bands. Map: http://www.acsalaska.com/_pageContent/wireless/maps/1068-coverage.pdf

    Dobson Cellular (Cellular One): They operate AMPS/TDMA/GSM on the cellular "A" bands. Statewide coverage. Map: https://www.celloneusa.com/ECellPortal/dynamicImages/73.gif

    Alaska DigiTel: Operates CDMA and GSM (for roamers only) on PCS bands. Has service in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks (one tower--awful coverage), and Juneau. Map: http://www.akdigitel.com/coverage.htm#lc

    Copper Valley Wireless: Operates AMPS and some TDMA coverage from Valdez to Cordova across Prince William Sound. Coverage map: http://www.coppervalleywireless.com/coverage.html

    Cordova Wireless: Operates AMPS coverage in Cordova. There is no coverage map, but their page is here: http://www.ctcak.net/cordova_wireless.htm

    MTA: Offers AMPS/TDMA service on cellular bands in the Matanuska Valley.

    ASTAC: Operates AMPS service on the "A" cellular band North Slope. See here for their coverage map: http://www.astac.net/cellular.html

    Bristol Bay Cellular Partnership: Operates AMPS service on the "B" cellular band in Naknek, King Salmon, South Naknek, Egegik, Pilot Point, Dillingham, Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, and Kodiak. They do not have roaming agreements with any other carrier, but you can sign up for roaming service here: http://www.bristolbay.com/forms/bbcproaming.pdf

    Unicom: Operates AMPS service on the "B" cellular band in Alakanuk, Chevak, Emmonak, Gambell, Hooper Bay, Kipnuk, Kotlik,
    Mountain Village, Quinhagak, Savoonga, St. Mary's, Togiak, Toksook Bay, Tununak, Bethel, and Aniak-Chuathbaluk. They do not have roaming agreements with any other carrier, save a rather unique dual-NAM roaming option carrying an Anchorage number for their local subscribers. More information here: http://www.unicom-alaska.com/cellular.html
     
    #1
  2. larry

    larry Go Lakers!
    Super Moderator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    13,715
    Likes Received:
    45
    Alaska has a heck of a lot of carriers and none of them are the big ones. Interesting.
     
    #2
  3. CellGeek

    CellGeek Sprint is the BOMB!
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    1
    There most likely is not a large enough population to make it worthwhile from a business perspective.
     
    #3
  4. ZaphodB

    ZaphodB Signal Go Down De Hole...
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    2
    That, and the coverage challenges in such a huge area present a massive money-suck. Analog is still king in Alaska because it covers so much more area, even if the coverage is less good.
     
    #4
  5. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    And don't forget Kodiak Wireless in Kodiak. They are a TDMA provider and have roaming agreements with Cingular and Dobson. They are in big trouble now though because ACS just started offering PCS service in Kodiak, and until that happened, Kodiak Wireless charged outrageous prices.
     
    #5
  6. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, Kodiak Wireless is so small, they don't even appear to have a Web page. Are they strictly a TDMA provider, or do they also offer GSM? Also, ACS is presumably offering only CDMA service in Kodiak on the PCS bands, right? I haven't seen them offer any roamer-only GSM overlays like Alaska DigiTel has.

     
    #6
  7. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    They do have a website...www.kodiakwireless.com, however it has been down ever since ACS came to town...I'm assuming that they are re-doing it in an attempt to become more competitive. They are a TDMA/Analog only provider, and have not upgraded to GSM.

    ACS is offering CDMA service on PCS bands...they are also selling EVDO data there as well. Quite a step up for the people of Kodiak. There was an article in the local Kodiak Daily Mirror when ACS Wireless came to town and Kodiak Wireless is running scared. One thing that is kind of ironic though is that ACS leased tower space from Kodiak Wireless to put their antenna's on!

    I am happy now to because my Verizon phone finally works there.

    IT was funny...not to many locals used Kodiak Wireless/Bristol Bay, but as soon as ACS came to town they were lined up outside the store.
     
    #7
  8. ShoresGuy

    ShoresGuy Euer WA Experte in Europa
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2003
    Messages:
    6,568
    Likes Received:
    0
  9. lmbl

    lmbl New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    #9
  10. lmbl

    lmbl New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Verizon does not own a license in Alaska. Sprint does & has some deal with Alaska Digitel broadcasting the Sprint SID of 4500 in a few places on Digitels system. Cricket also owns a license, as does Nextel.
     
    #10
  11. roamer1

    roamer1 In Memoriam
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    0
    Three more... :p

    OTZ Telephone Cooperative (AMPS/TDMA, single site that covers Kotzebue, less than 200 customers, no roaming agreements with other carriers that I am aware of)

    Alaska Wireless (Dutch Harbor) (GSM, [at last report] two sites that cover the Dutch Harbor/Unalaska area, roaming with the other major US GSM carriers is planned but doesn't appear to be available yet)

    Nome Cellular Connection (AMPS-only, one site that covers Nome, no roaming agreements with other carriers that I am aware of)

    -SC
     
    #11
  12. roamer1

    roamer1 In Memoriam
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    0
    The only major carrier to have ever had coverage in Alaska would be Cingular -- if AWS hadn't sold their Alaska systems to Dobson just before the AWS/Cingular merger.

    I wonder if Alaska DigiTel might shut down its roamer GSM network, especially in light of Dobson going 850...with Cingular being so cozy with Dobson, Rogers buying Microcell/Fido and selling more phones with 850, and T-Mobile selling more and more phones with 850 (and also being rather cozy with Dobson), it seems that reasons to continue to maintain GSM coverage are disappearing. (Their CDMA revenue has to be suffering even more, especially given that VZW and practically everyone else save for SPCS now prefer ACS.) Then again, Commnet Wireless continues to maintain and even build out roamer coverage in markets where all four national carriers have coverage, such as the Florida Keys and (now that Sussex Cellular committted suicide) Sussex County, NJ...

    -SC
     
    #12
  13. roamer1

    roamer1 In Memoriam
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    0
    IMO, unless they significantly revise their pricing and go GSM, they will die. I wouldn't be surprised to see them just give up and sell out to Dobson...

    -SC
     
    #13
  14. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kodiak Electric also ran an ISP called KEA Connect. They provided dial-up access and undercut ACS by a couple of bucks a month. Interestingly, the only other ISP in town appears to be ACS, and KEA Connect has mysteriously stopped taking new customers. Looks like ACS deployed their CDMA service on Kodiak Wireless' towers, too. Did I mention that ACS runs TDMA and AMPS in addition to CDMA?

    Now, maybe I'm putting 1 and 1 together and getting 3, but it looks an awful lot to me like ACS might be buying out Kodiak Electric's ISP and cellular operations. Both would be a pretty good match to their existing operations, and ACS has been pretty aggressive about buying out rural cooperatives throughout Alaska.

     
    #14
  15. lmbl

    lmbl New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    A little clarification here. ACS only owns a PCS license in Kodiak, so ALL services there are CDMA 1900. There is no EVDO as of yet, but 1x is up & running.
     
    #15
  16. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, Kodiak Wireless runs AMPS/TDMA, and ACS runs CDMA1900 in an apparent tower sharing arrangement in Kodiak. In other ACS markets (such as southcentral Alaska) where it has the "B" side cellular license, ACS also runs AMPS and TDMA.

    So, to be clear as mud, is ACS buying Kodiak Wireless? :)

     
    #16
  17. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    2,912
    Likes Received:
    80
    #17
  18. akbreezo

    akbreezo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, so what does ACS coming to Kodiak mean exactly? I am from Kodiak and am trying to figure things out. A couple of years ago I was able to buy a AT&T wireless plan that worked in Kodiak, but since they merged with Cingular all of their plans and phones are GSM. We are fine now, but the phone we have is living on borrowed time and as soon as it dies, we cannot replace it with an AT&T phone because of network issues. So...can I get a Sprint or Verizon plan with a dualband phone that will work in Kodiak (and the rest of the U.S.) like I did with AT&T?
    Thanks!
     
    #18
  19. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can perma-roam with Verizon, but not with Sprint. Sprint users visiting Kodiak can roam on ACS, but rumor has it they are not allowed to roam over more than 50% of their usage for more than 2 consecutive months.

     
    #19
  20. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    I would recommend going with Verizon as they do not have any 50% roaming rule like Sprint does.
     
    #20
  21. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    Does anyone know what SID ACS is using in Kodiak?

    Thanks
    --Jason
     
    #21
  22. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dropped by the Alaska DigiTel service center in Anchorage yesterday and discussed the issue of 04500 broadcasts on their system. Interestingly enough, this is the only SID used in Juneau (so Alaska DigiTel's own customers are using a Sprint SID). This creates problems for Alaska DigiTel users roaming in Anchorage, because Alaska DigiTel doesn't broadcast 04500 on the entire Anchorage/Mat-Su network--they apparently only cover the downtown area of Anchorage with this SID.

    To their credit, the folks at the Alaska DigiTel service center understood the issue and assisted me in escalating it to their network team. Hopefully I'll have more information (and hopefully a resolution) in the near future.

    As regards ACS, I'm disappointed to see that they have moved nearly all CDMA voice coverage outside the high-density Anchorage markets to cellular frequencies, shutting down PCS service that was formerly available on the Kenai Peninsula. Since my handset supports only CDMA1900 and AMPS800, I am unfortunately relying on the far inferior coverage from Alaska DigiTel.

     
    #22
  23. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm up in Fairbanks now and am typing this message using my Sprint Data card! On my trips up here in previous years as a Sprint user I only had voice ability (no VM indicator, text messaging, or anything). I am happy to report to say that both my Blackberry and Sprint Data Card work quite well now, both in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Deadhorse!
     
    #23
    1 person likes this.
  24. larry

    larry Go Lakers!
    Super Moderator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    13,715
    Likes Received:
    45
    Great to hear and thanks for reporting this.
     
    #24
  25. ace41690

    ace41690 Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    1
    so are you getting an actual sprint signal??? or is it some kind of roaming? Are u getting 1x, or, dare i ask, are you getting mobile broadband in alaska!?
     
    #25
  26. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nope..it's not EVDO...it is 1X which works reasonably well for email and stuff. The phone has said that it is a native Sprint signal however I believe that the local cell phone company is actually just broadcasting a Sprint SID. I have been roaming on ACS on several occasions though.
     
    #26
  27. jayatmtu

    jayatmtu Junior Member
    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nope..it's not EVDO...it is 1X which works reasonably well for email and stuff. The phone has said that it is a native Sprint signal however I believe that the local cell phone company is actually just broadcasting a Sprint SID. I have been roaming on ACS on several occasions though.
     
    #27

Share This Page