TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Verizon, GTE, Contel, Alltel, etc. (When is TDMA Being Phased Out?)

Verizon, GTE, Contel, Alltel, etc. (When is TDMA Being Phased Out?)

Anthony Bellanga (
Thu, 01 Dec 2005 03:29:35 -0700

PAT: PLEASE DO *NOT* display my email address anywhere! Thanx!

Jim Burks <> wrote:

> Lisa Hancock <> wrote:


>> I guess now there are three big cellular companies -- Verizon,
>> Cingular, and VoiceStream? Is Sprint still independent or did
>> they merge?

> No, really four: Cingular (with ATTws), Verizon, T-Mobile and
> Sprint (with NexTel). VoiceStream either became T-Mobile or was
> acquired by Verizon (not sure which).

There is a fifth nationwide (or maybe nearly nationwide?) wireless
provider in the US, and that is Alltel. A great deal of what is now
Verizon Wireless at one time was part of Alltel, but Alltel still does

Voicestream changed into T-Mobile. I understand that there was even a
name used prior to being called Voicestream but I can't remember what
it was.

As for a good deal of what had been Alltel at one time becoming part
of Verizon Wireless around 2000, also remember that when GTE was
taking over Contel in the early 1990s, they had to sell off landline
services in certain states or portions of states, possibly to comply
with various FTC or DOJ anti-trust things.

Citizens Telephone and Alltel were the two companies that GTE sold
legacy GTE and legacy Contel landline markets (sometimes entire
states) to. But also at the very same time, GTE took over some of
Alltel landline territory. It was almost as if GTE and Alltel "traded
off" some landline areas.

When Bell Atlantic / NYNEX took over GTE / Contel in 2000 to become
Verizon, in addition to the Wireless consolidations that happened
first (including some of Alltel wireless becoming Verizon, though not
all of what was Alltel wireless was merged into Verizon wireless,
there is still a great deal of Alltel that is still on its own), there
were legacy GTE (and old legacy Contel) landline areas which Verizon
again sold off. This included all of GTE Alaska which was sold to
about five small local independent telcos that had always been in
Alaska; a good deal of GTE in the Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico
areas being sold into a new spin-off called Valor; parts of old GTE
being sold to various existing smaller independent telcos here and
there, as well as part of old GTE or Contel being sold to CenturyTel
and again to Citizens and Alltel.

More recently Verizon sold off old GTE Hawaiian Telephone to the
Carlyle Group, and Telus in Canada bought back Verizon's shares which
date back to when GT&E owned the British Columbia Telephone Company
and the Quebec Telephone Company in eastern Quebec. In early 2004,
Verizon also announced that it wanted to sell off all legacy New York
Tel outside of the New York City Metro Area (LATA 132), but those
plans have been cancelled.

But Alltel still has a wireless operation. And more recently, when
AT&T-Wireless was being sold to Cingular (owned 60% by SBC now known
as AT&T, and 40% by BellSouth and HQ'd in BellSouth's Atlanta),
remember how some customers were "turned over" to Alltel wireless!

There are still several smaller regional and local cellular companies
in the US. MOST of them do have contracts with the major national
providers for roaming purposes, but a lot of them are strictly local
or regional providers for those who really don't travel much (i.e.,
they don't need to roam), and thus might be able to provide cheaper
monthly rates!

But as for the major providers, note how all of them are also
associated with incumbent landline telcos, except for T-Mobile.

Cinuglar (SBC/AT&T and BellSouth)
Sprint (now including Nextel)

However, with the Sprint-Nextel merger, they have announced that
Sprint is keeping Long Distance and wireless, but are going to
sell-off or spin-off their (incumbent) local telephone operations, to
some yet to be announced entity and name/logo. The local telco
operations is what Sprint claims was "100+ years of service", being
the old United Telephone, and also Centel (Central Telephone), the
latter being merged into Sprint-United in the early 1990s.

- Anthony Bellanga

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