The Pryor Times

Local News

September 16, 2011

3G broadband arrives in Pryor and surrounding area

Pryor and the surrounding area has obtained 3G wireless broadband service through AT&T.

AT&T’s area manager, Craig Cromley, spoke about AT&T’s expansion in a recent Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at St. Mark Catholic Church. The mobile broadband network extends access for advanced mobile services, devices and feature-rich audio and video content to area customers.

Cromley said 3G was added to Pryor and Vinita within the last two months. An additional 31 new 3G wireless broadband tower sites were turned on throughout northeast Oklahoma. The Grand Lake area will soon have the service.

Two years ago, Cromley said AT&T met at Pryor city hall about DSL, a high-speed

Internet service administered through a hardline. The company knew that investments in DSL would be decreasing, said Cromley.

“We knew we would be moving into a wireless world,” said Cromley. He said AT&T is still not everywhere the company wants to be. Cromley said AT&T has lost over half its landline business in the past 10 years, and is losing more at a rate of 8 percent each month.

Mobile broadband offers DSL-like speeds via a wireless device. It is fast access to information on the go, said Cromley. Wireless broadband devices allow the user to talk and surf the net at the same time.

Customers may choose from approximately 20 different devices, including the iPhone 3G and the Blackberry Torch. Cromley said Laptop Connect cards offer DSL speeds, allowing the user to share live video during a call or watch streaming television video.

In 2010, Cromley said AT&T invested $19 billion in wireless infrastructure. Two billion dollars was put into the wireless network. From 2008 to 2010, AT&T spent $625 million on the Oklahoma wireless and wireline network.

Cromley said wireless investment is AT&T’s No. 1 priority.

“We’re in a mobile society,” he said. In 2011, AT&T plans to upgrade all 2G sites to 3G.

Wireless traffic has increased 8,000 percent over the past four years, said Cromley. With 2G broadband, it takes 60 seconds to download the online homepage of a major newspaper. With 3G broadband, the same page will download in 10 seconds.

Upgrading the cell phone towers requires hands-on work. Cromley said AT&T workers have to turn down sectors of the tower, which results in dropped calls and poor voice quality. “Pardon our dust,” he said.

Broadband gives emergency personnel the ability to transmit photos and data to the hospital while in route with a patient.

AT&T carries the nation’s fastest 3G network and plans to expand the next generation of broadband to 97 percent of the nation, Cromley said. The company serves 80 percent of the U.S. population.

Cromley said people tend to perceive AT&T as the innovator of all the new applications. “We develop the infrastructure to carry those applications,” he said.

AT&T has a Garmin GTU, which is a tracking device ideal for pets, property and even children. The company offers a vitality network, which uses light and sound to help remind patients to take their prescriptions.

“Evolving technology is important, particularly in rural Oklahoma,” said State Senator Sean Burrage. “The technology afforded by this upgrade will keep Pryor better connected and help ensure our role in a global economy.”

“AT&T’s investment will improve service for the citizens and businesses that call Pryor home,” said state Rep. Ben Sherrer. “This is an important milestone for our ever-changing community.”

“Today is a good day for Pryor,” said Pryor Mayor Jimmy Tramel. “We will continue to encourage investments like this one in our community.”

AT&T’s mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T has the broadest international coverage of any U.S. wireless provider, providing access to voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in more than 200 countries. AT&T also offers voice and data roaming coverage on more than 135 major cruise ships, as well as mobile broadband services in more than 130 countries.

AT&T also operates the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with nearly 27,000 hotspots in the U.S. and provides access to nearly 190,000 hotspots globally through roaming agreements. Most AT&T smartphone customers have access to the national Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, and Wi-Fi usage does not count against customers’ monthly wireless data plans.

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