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Cellular One Closing in Wyoming, Montana

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Cellular One has announced that it will be shutting down services in Wyoming and Montana as of August 31, 2014. This will affect all MVNOs that use Cellular One’s service in those states as well. According to FierceWireless, Residents using Cellular One’s network will have to switch to a new carrier by August 31 to avoid service interruption. To facilitate the process, Cellular One has waived all early termination fees and is working with AT&T to allow customers to switch to that network. Customers who switch to AT&T will not have to pay any activation fees and AT&T is offering a $100 credit on the first bill for those who switch. Cellular One phones are compatible with AT&T’s network, but customers are not obligated to switch to the blue giant and may pick whichever carrier they wish.

In a letter sent to Cellular One customers in May, the company said that its “business model simply [does] not support the significant capital investment required to upgrade its Montana network to the 4G technology needed to remain competitive with the large national service providers…”

Many of Cellular One’s current stores and such will switch to AT&T and its towers will be utilized by Sprint, but the company says that it is not being purchased by either company–it is simply a business transaction. And, while it is probably a smart move on Cellular One’s part to get out before they lose too much money, it is not all that surprising. I can’t imagine how the smaller carriers are managing to stay ahead of the huge national providers that have enough revenue to build an extremely large nationwide network.