For the time being, Cingular’s Kaua’i customers and employees will stay put, but a cash-less transaction is planned that would transfer Cingular’s Kaua’i assets and customers to AT&T Wireless.
The companies have agreed to a deal, expected to close in the second quarter of 2003, where wireless licenses in various states including Hawai’i would be exchanged.
Cingular gets licenses in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas, while AT&T Wireless gets licenses on Kaua’i, and in parts of Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
The 2002 Kaua’i telephone white-pages listing for Cingular shows 25 employee names. An AT&T spokeswoman said Cingular has 14,000 Kaua’i customers. Cingular officials would not confirm that Kaua’i-customer number.
Lissa Guild Eveleth, marketing and public relations manager for AT&T Wireless in Hawai’i, said once the deal closes Cingular customers will become AT&T Wireless customers, unless they choose otherwise.
AT&T plans immediate improvements to Cingular’s Kaua’i coverage, and is nearing the release of a third-generation global system for mobile communications (GSM) technology that will allow Kaua’i wireless customers easy transfer of data, pictures, even streaming video, to and from cellular telephones, she said.
Additional cell sites are planned on the island, Eveleth said. Cingular now has several cell sites, positioned between Princeville and Kaumakani.
When AT&T Wireless launches on Kaua’i, once the transaction is finalized, the will roll out the latest technology available to the company, she said.
Cingular, in its earlier existence as Cybertel, was the first cellular-service provider on the island.
“AT&T Wireless is leveraging its spectrum-rich position to enhance our business in the Aloha State as we continue to roll out advanced network services,” said Gil Mendelson, vice president and general manager of AT&T Wireless in Hawai’i.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Kaua’i to the AT&T Wireless organization, and look forward to offering expanded wireless services to its residents and visitors,” he said.
“With this agreement, Cingular will be able to expand its coverage area in several key markets, and increase spectrum capacity,” said Mark Feidler, Cingular chief operating officer.
“This deal continues our strategy of adding spectrum and markets where they will have the most beneficial impact,” Feidler said.
Cingular Wireless (www.cingular.com) is a joint venture between SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth (NYSE: BLS), with over 22 million voice and data customers across the country.
AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE) has over 20.2 million subscribers, and www.attwireless.com as its Web site.
Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 224).