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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - AT&T fixing conversion issues with Alltel
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DeWayne Grice

Business Ticker

• Progress Student Living of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has sold Monarch301, a 180-unit rental community with 546 bedroom/bathroom suits located on a 10-acre site at 816 S. Main St. The new owner is Phillips Acquisitions, a privately held real estate investment, development and management firm based in Santa Barbara, California. Monarch301 opened in August 2013 and is currently 97 percent leased.

• Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of BI-LO, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announced that Ian McLeod has been appointed president and CEO effective March 2. McLeod succeeds Randall Onstead, who will remain through March 2 for a smooth transition.

• The Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting Ceremony for Papa Murphy's at 11:30 a.m. today. The pizza place is located at 582 Brannen St., next to Firehouse Subs and AppleCare.



 Cellphone companies provide easy punch lines for comedians. There was no exception last week when The Second City Comedy Club visited the Averitt Center.

The comedic troupe had plenty of fresh material thanks to the recent transition of Alltel customers to AT&T. Gina Dippolito, a front-seat patron and one of Averitt's most faithful fans, shared her "interesting" experience with the conversion. It made for great comedy, but the reality has been a little less fun.

Statesboro Herald readers are reporting long lines with waits commonly over two hours to get their old Alltel equipment switched out. There have also been reports of spotty service and other technical issues. The nearly 100,000 former Alltel wireless customers in Georgia are seeing a change as AT&T launches service for them. AT&T acquired Alltel's wireless operations in September 2013. The transaction included subscribers, spectrum and retail and network assets.

Since the purchase, AT&T has been hard at work upgrading the network to combine the strength of Alltel's local coverage with AT&T's 4G LTE network. The upgraded network was launched late last year with customers activating their new AT&T devices earlier this month.

"We've worked day and night to upgrade our network in Georgia so that former Alltel customers will have a great experience with AT&T," said Alex Parker, AT&T Georgia/South Carolina vice president and general manager. "These customers will have access to a better combined network. In fact, AT&T's 4G LTE network is capable of data speeds up to 10 times faster than the 3G speeds on the former Alltel network. Customers now also enjoy the latest smartphones and tablets and have award-winning retail locations to meet their wireless needs."

Former Alltel customers will benefit from the upgraded network in Georgia offering service on significantly more cell towers and better call quality than on the Alltel network.

With the upgrades, existing AT&T cell towers can now provide enhanced indoor coverage and cover a wider area from each cell tower. In addition, the integration of former Alltel towers into the upgraded network has increased AT&T's cell towers in Georgia by more than 10 percent. So, all subscribers in this part of the state will benefit from a better high-speed Internet experience on their mobile devices.

"AT&T's investment in network infrastructure, store improvements and the jobs that accompany both show the company's overall commitment to this area," said state Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert.

"These upgrades are important to the people and businesses in Georgia, who want and need access to the same technological tools enjoyed in larger communities.We are delighted to welcome these positive changes within our region."

AT&T also upgraded or relocated some former Alltel retail locations. AT&T customers, including former Alltel subscribers, in Georgia may now visit the AT& T Company-owned retail store at 581 Northside Drive E. to learn more about AT&T's latest products or services.

As for the continued technical issues affecting service in the Statesboro area, Ann Elsas, media relations manager for AT&T said: "We're conducting drive tests in south and coastal Georgia to monitor network performance and coverage and have made modifications to continue to improve the coverage in the area. That said, if any of our customers feel their coverage has changed or otherwise aren't happy with their service, we're committed to working with them to either find a solution or to allow them to choose another carrier without an early termination fee."

Please email DeWayne at or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.


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