Etex Mgr. Danny Kellar introduced Henry Chappell, network operations manager for Etex Communications, and Summer Edge, wireless coordinator, who explained the changes.
Chappell discussed the network upgrade that Etex Wireless will accomplish in the first quarter of 2009. He said the upgrade will bring Etex up to speed with major carriers in voice, text messaging and other features.
As of next April, the Rotarians were told, Etex will sever all ties with Alltell.
To fill in the Etex network and improve service, new towers are being built at Cedar Springs in northeast Upshur County and Enon, west of Gilmer; the tower nearest the Etex offices on Hwy. 155 north will be moved to improve service in the Gilmer area.
The Enon tower, to be completed by the second quarter of 2009, will improve service to Gilmer’s Patterson Addition.
The 15 towers now in service face some difficulties in filling in “gaps” because of the hillls and tall pines characteristic of this area, the Rotarians were told.
In evolving to the Edma2000 level, cell phone service improvement will be comparable to going from dial-up to DSL Internet connections, Ms. Edge explained.
Customers will be able to get the newest cell phones that operate at faster speeds, have thousands of ringtones available along with games, weather information, global positioning service, wallpaper and other new applications.
They will be able to keep their current telephone numbers and there willl be no change in rates, but some may need to upgrade their cellphones next April. Etex buys all its cell phones direct from the Motorola factory, Ms. Edge said.
Explaining the excitement Etex Wireless staff has for the changes, she said, “the wireless world is going to smart phones.”