AT&T brings mobile Internet network to Eastern Oregon
AT&T Tuesday announced the launch of its mobile Internet network in seven Eastern Oregon counties, including, Union, Baker and Wallowa.
In a press release, the communications company said the new network will allow customers to surf the Web, download files faster and enjoy the latest in mobile applications. Previously, AT&T only offered roaming service in the region.
AT&T said activation of cell sites in the region is part of ongoing investment and innovation efforts in Oregon. According to the press release, AT&T service is now available to more than 90 percent of Oregon’s 3.9 million residents.
State Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) hailed the announcement, saying the new service will improve Eastern Oregon’s connection with the global marketplace.
“We’ve worked in the Legislature to create an environment that encourages this type of investment, and I am very pleased to see AT&T bringing increased mobile Internet coverage to Eastern Oregon,” Bentz said.
Mike Maxwell, AT&T’s vice president and general manager, said expanding wireless coverage across Oregon is a priority for the company.
Maxwell said the company has invested more than $300 million in Oregon wireless and wireline networks during the past three years.
In addition to Union, Baker and Wallowa counties, the new network covers Grant, Harney, Lake and Umatilla counties.
AT&T spokesman Andy Colley said Tuesday that many Eastern Oregon customers who used the roaming service had access only to a 2G-level connection. The new service provides region-wide access to more efficient 3G wireless communications.
Colley added that the La Grande area for some time has had a number of 3G cell sites available. While La Grande-area customers have had access to 3G service, surrounding communities have not.
Colley said another advantage of the new network is that customers can now buy AT&T phones with local numbers. He said the company plans to open a retail store in La Grande in January.