Friday, February 17, 2012

Plateau Wireless Gives Up!

It's understandable when a small wireless carrier sells out to one the Big 4, but it's troubling when it happens to the wireless arm of a rural wireline co-op. They're the ones who are supposed to operate with the best interests of their members. Today, Plateau Wireless of New Mexico agreed to sell their cellular network and customers to Verizon Wireless. It really is the new economic reality for small telecoms, but it seems so short-sighted. The future is wireless, and now it looks like Plateau has mortgaged away their future. Those wireless channels could have been used for more than just phone calls. No matter. Money talks.

The good news is that life will probably get better for Plateau customers. While Plateau offers a wide variety of plans, most of them are overpriced. When Verizon takes over, everybody gets a new CDMA phone and a chance to upgrade to the iPhone. Previous Verizon conversions from GSM to CDMA have gone smoothly and we expect this one to be, too. Plateau was a real champion of the rural wireless user, even keeping analog operating because so few farmers could afford to convert their wireless sprinkler controls over to digital.

We wish Plateau's main parent, The ENMR Telephone Cooperative, well. We hope they'll still have some customers left to co-operate with. Most of us may have cut the cord.

6 comments:

Benjamin A said...

This could be trouble for GSM users who travel I40 as this will leave a 150+nmile gap. It looks like either AT&T or T-Mobile will have to finally build out there.

Bill Andrews said...

You're right, but as has been the case with other GSM takeovers, Verizon may be required to maintain GSM service for several years. We'll hope there will be race between AT&T and T-Mobile to see who can fill that in first.

Anonymous said...

Am I reading the article right, did Verizon just buy RSA 6 in SE NM and not all of Plateau? The population sq mi covered seems a lot less then all of Plateau's coverage area.

Bill Andrews said...

Yes, i think there is some confusion in the story. While it looks like they are only buying the one RSA, I think what they meant to say was that they are buying the assets of the company called "New Mexico RSA #6" not just RSA #6. Later in the article it is further described as, "The purchase includes Plateau Wireless' Cellular, PCS and AWS spectrum, customers, and related GSM operations in the southeastern New Mexico market. The licenses and the operating assets being acquired cover a rural population of 259,000 and approximately 26,100 square miles...Major population centers include Roswell, Carlsbad, Artesia and Hobbs, New Mexico."

Anonymous said...

They are not purchasing all of Plateau just some areas. Plateau will still exist in some market. So the money they get from this they will use to better those markets they still work in.

Bill Andrews said...

Yes, we updated the info with the next article at: http://www.cellularnoise.com/2012/02/plateau-transaction-clarified.html and we posted a map of the affected area at: http://www.cellularmaps.com/plateau.shtml