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Wireless Carriers in Alaska

A forum member wrote to me and asked whether there is a comprehensive listing of wireless carriers in Alaska. To my ...

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    Default Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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/_pageConten...8-coverage.pdf

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

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Alaska has a heck of a lot of carriers and none of them are the big ones. Interesting.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by larry
    Alaska has a heck of a lot of carriers and none of them are the big ones. Interesting.
    There most likely is not a large enough population to make it worthwhile from a business perspective.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayatmtu
    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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by TProphet
    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.
    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 Verizonicon 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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska


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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Can't forget OTZ up in Kotzebue. I don't see a coverage map on their website though.....

    http://www.otz.net/telcommunications...unications.htm

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by larry
    Alaska has a heck of a lot of carriers and none of them are the big ones. Interesting.
    Verizonicon does not own a license in Alaska. Sprint does & has some deal with Alaska Digitel broadcasting the Sprinticon SID of 4500 in a few places on Digitels system. Cricketicon also owns a license, as does Nextel.

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    Wink Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by TProphet
    If you know of any others, please post them in this thread.
    Three more...

    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
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    sticking it out at you...

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by lmbl
    Verizonicon 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.
    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-Mobileicon 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
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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by jayatmtu
    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.
    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
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    sticking it out at you...

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by roamer1
    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

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by TProphet
    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.
    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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by lmbl
    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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Just to resurrect an old post: here was my take on southeast alaska

    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/we...u-skagway.html

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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&Ticon 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&Ticon phone because of network issues. So...can I get a Sprint or Verizonicon plan with a dualband phone that will work in Kodiak (and the rest of the U.S.) like I did with AT&T?
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    You can perma-roam with Verizonicon, 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by akbreezo
    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&Ticon 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&Ticon phone because of network issues. So...can I get a Sprint or Verizonicon plan with a dualband phone that will work in Kodiak (and the rest of the U.S.) like I did with AT&T?
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by akbreezo
    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&Ticon 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&Ticon phone because of network issues. So...can I get a Sprint or Verizonicon plan with a dualband phone that will work in Kodiak (and the rest of the U.S.) like I did with AT&T?
    Thanks!
    I would recommend going with Verizonicon as they do not have any 50% roaming rule like Sprint does.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Does anyone know what SID ACS is using in Kodiak?

    Thanks
    --Jason

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    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 Sprinticon 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by lmbl View Post
    Verizonicon 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. Cricketicon also owns a license, as does Nextel.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    I'm up in Fairbanks now and am typing this message using my Sprinticon Data card! On my trips up here in previous years as a Sprinticon 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!
    larry likes this.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Great to hear and thanks for reporting this.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by jayatmtu View Post
    I'm up in Fairbanks now and am typing this message using my Sprinticon Data card! On my trips up here in previous years as a Sprinticon 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!
    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!?

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by ace41690 View Post
    so are you getting an actual Sprinticon signal??? or is it some kind of roaming? Are u getting 1x, or, dare i ask, are you getting mobile broadband in alaska!?
    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 Sprinticon 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.

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    Default Re: Wireless Carriers in Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by ace41690 View Post
    so are you getting an actual Sprinticon signal??? or is it some kind of roaming? Are u getting 1x, or, dare i ask, are you getting mobile broadband in alaska!?
    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 Sprinticon 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.

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