Full Article: Alltel Wireless set to re-establish brand - RCR Wireless News "Start up" counts nearly 900,000 customers in six states Following years of instability, Alltel Wireless looks to have found its footing in the mobile market having recently put into place all of the pieces necessary to re-establish the veteran brand into the market. The “new” Alltel Wireless is operated by Allied Wireless Communications Corp., which is staffed by former Alltel Communications L.L.C. and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of telecom company Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. ATN closed on its $223 million acquisition of the Alltel assets in late April after having gained government approval earlier that month. As part of its acquisition, ATN also picked up the Alltel name and accompanying service marks, like My Circle, for use in its current markets an initial term of 14 years and a total term of up to 28 years. “We feel like it's putting the band back together here in Little Rock,” explained Wade McGill, chief administrative officer for Alltel Wireless and AWCC. The original Alltel Corp. was headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., before being acquired by Verizon Wireless for $28 billion in early 2009. As part of the acquisition, Verizon Wireless was forced to divest some markets, a majority of which were acquired by AT&T Mobility for $3 billion, with the rest picked up by ATN. Those markets picked up by ATN included functioning networks in six states – including portions of Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Idaho – and nearly 900,000 customers. “I think the trust did a very good job of keeping the brand going,” McGill noted. “So many people were just so committed to the brand and the markets.” While its local markets are diverse geographically, the carrier maintains a nationwide footprint through roaming agreements. Perhaps more important for ATN was its ability to secure the Alltel brand, which had built up tremendous brand equity in its markets. “The ability to retain the brand was key in these markets and you can't underestimate the value of that,” McGill noted, adding that more than 50% of its current employees have been with Alltel for more than six years. In addition to maintaining the Alltel brand, the new operations plans to maintain many of the services offered by the “old” Alltel, including continued promotion of its MyCircle plans that were one of the first to incorporate a select number of phone numbers for unlimited calling, regardless of carrier. The brand acquisition also allows for possible expansion beyond current markets, though McGill and AWCC are keeping any expansion plans close to the vest, noting the company was more focused in the short term on reestablishing itself in the market. “We need to have a laser focus on the customer experience and being local,” McGill explained, citing a common mantra of rural carriers forced to compete against large, nationwide operators. “That's how we want to think about our plans moving forward. … I think our plan is to grow organically at first and just focus on providing excellent customer service and support.” McGill said the carrier will also maintain its current CDMA-based 3G network, but added that LTE was in the carrier's future, though he was unable to provide any details on those plans. Alltel's previous incarnation had committed to the LTE technology before being acquired by Verizon Wireless.