Friday, February 22, 2013

Viaero's President Responds

I recently saw an anonymous response by a Viaero customer to an old blog posting of ours:
I have been a Viaero customer for about 2 years now in the south eastern part of colorado. service was fine at first, but since about the middle of 2012 we have seen alot more dropped calls and internet on phone is as slow as dial-up. there are rumors that there is a lawsuit between them and AT&T that happened around that time. phone customer service is a joke. most the time they tell you to remove battery and sim and wait 30 sec so phone can reset. that never helps. i have been disappointed that there cell service has decreased from a radius of 12 to 15 down to 6 to 8 miles from there towers. this leaves a lot of there rural customers in a bind. we are unable to chose another carrier because we would be roaming of viaero's towers and other carriers will cancel your contract within 6 months and we have to pay the early termination fees. 
So I contacted Viaero Wireless, a cellular carrier serving Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and surrounding states, and the President of the company, Frank DiRico called me back.  Frank is a stand up guy and takes pride in their attempts at technical excellence.  He stated that the southeast Colorado part of his network is getting very busy.  So busy that they further subdivided their cells into more quadrants which could have adjusted the signal away from customers like the one above.  He offered to send a tech down to that person's home if only they shared their location.

In place of that, Mr. DiRico suggested that if a customer does not get a satisfactory solution, "They should ask to have their call 'escalated' to the technical department."  Frank noted that the southeast Colorado area is so busy he already has plans to add 2 more cell sites in the area.  He states he can't add them fast enough, especially during the winter, but they do construct 1 or 2 new sites a week.  Viareo installs their own sites and does not contract that work out.

This is why Viaero has earns a "10" in the Mountain Wireless Ratings. Why can't they all respond this well?

Friday, February 15, 2013

One More Lost Carrier

I neglected to report one additional carrier that has gone out of the wireless business, XIT Wireless of extreme northwest Texas. The XIT cellular network has been sold to AT&T.  They had very good 800 MHz coverage and helps further AT&T's dominance in the Lone Star State.  Unlike the systems reported on yesterday, XIT will be missed, although their customers will notice very few changes...and may not have noticed anything at all.

I was certainly fooled.  Passing through Dumas, TX my AT&T phone said I was roaming on XIT, and the XIT store I drove past still promoted wireless plans in the window.  Additionally, FCC records show that AT&T and XIT  have a separate spectrum lease agreement that implies that XIT may offer some kind of wireless service, most likely a form of Internet access.

So, we add one more name to our Wireless Archives...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More Vanishing Carriers

It looks like our fastest growing data page is the Mountain Wireless Network Archives.  Over the past few months a few more cellular operators have decided to go out of business.  Etex Wireless of Gilmer, TX have decide to drop their wireless business with apparently no buyers.  They recommend going to Verizon Wireless.

In Nebraska the news is good as AT&T will finally be able to take over the Indigo Wireless network in the panhandle area. This has been a 12 year disagreement that pretty much caused the indigo network to virtually disappear.  Under AT&T the area will be served like never before, although the squabble helped make Viaero Wireless the top dog in the area, especially since they now serve most of the area with 4G.

Another network that fell out of bed was Via Wireless in Georgia. Their technical teams have been spending all of their time upgrading the fiber and wireline segments of the owner, Wilkes Telephone Company, and pretty much gave up the wireless network.  This is another operator that will probably just flip off the switch to the cell sites and only the employees will notice.

One of the trends that causes us to consider the difference between "cellular" and "wireless" is that when we call and ask about the status of a wireless network, the response is, "Which one?"  A few forward-thinking reps answer that although they are turning off their cellular network, you can subscribe to their Internet service and access the wireless part of your home router with your Smart phone and limit the amount of broadband charges from the surviving cellular operators. We include Clear Wireless among our network data and need to stay aware that there are viable wireless options among every single Internet service node whether it's up the street or in your house.