Smooth customer transition promised by AT&T

By Alisa Boswell
Staff writer
aboswell@pntonline.com

On the verge of sealing a deal to buy Plateau Wireless assets, AT&T officials are saying they will make the transition a smooth one for customers.

“We’ll work hard to make the transition as smooth as possible for them, and we think they’ll like being part of AT&T,” said Charles Bassett, AT&T public relations manager. “We plan to upgrade the former Plateau network in the long-term to 4G LTE service. AT&T is committed to providing excellent customer service.”

The sale agreement is conditional upon the approval of the Federal Communications Commission.

Bassett, however, stopped short of promising such an easy transition for Plateau workers, who will eventually lose their jobs as a result of the deal.

Plateau Chief Financial Officer David Robinson said that Plateau will eliminate approximately 85 positions over time, but this will be done through attrition and retirement rather than through layoffs.

Bassett said no Plateau employees will move to AT&T, but the company will have the opportunity to make offers to certain Plateau employees working in their wireless business.

He said purchasing Plateau Wireless’ assets will include all cell equipment and towers plus three retail stores.

Plateau Wireless is a cell phone service serving West Texas and eastern New Mexico.

Plateau CEO Tom Phelps said in 2012 that Verizon was purchasing its southwest New Mexico quadrant, which included portions of Roswell, Carlsbad, Artesia, Hobbs and Ruidoso.

Plateau representatives have said they will maintain their cooperative landline service, fiber-to-the-home and business and residential services, such as advanced IPTV, ultra-fast Internet connections and other IP-based services.

Bassett said Plateau Wireless customers will not see any immediate changes to their service or bills.