Two telecommunications retailers have opened new AT&T Inc.-authorized dealer stores in the Inland Northwest, one in Spokane Valley and another in Post Falls, says AT&T spokesman Andy Colley.
Portland-based Smart Wireless Inc. opened a new store earlier this month in a 1,800-square-foot leased space at 5020 E. Sprague, in Spokane Valley. Meanwhile, the Post Falls outlet is owned and operated by Dallas, Texas-based Cellular World Inc., and is in a 2,000-square-foot leased space at 4902 E. Primrose.
Together, the two stores employ between eight and 10 people, Colley says. AT&T has plans to open three to five more authorized dealer locations in the Inland Northwest in the next several months, Colley says, creating between 15 and 25 jobs.
The stores will offer a range of wireless devices, accessories, and service plans, Colley says.
AT&T, which has company-owned stores in addition to authorized dealers, decided to pursue the new locations to meet rising demand in the area, Colley says.
“Really, it’s just a matter of growth; we’re looking at Spokane and the Inland Northwest and determining what are the needs of those customers,” he says. “It’s a matter of convenience for customers.”
The company currently has four company-owned stores in the greater Spokane and North Idaho area. In addition, there are seven authorized dealers, including a total of five in Spokane, Spokane Valley, and Cheney, and two in North Idaho, Colley says.
Of the seven authorized dealers, three are owned by Boise, Idaho-based Connect Wireless, two by Smart Wireless, and two by Cellular World, he says.
AT&T recently tied with Verizon Communications as the top carrier in the Spokane area for calls, texts, and data, Colley says. Sprint Corp. was ranked third and T Mobile U.S. Inc. fourth in the study, Colley says. The study was conducted by Seattle-based independent consultant firm Root Metrics earlier this spring.
“The Root Metrics award was based on an analysis of 17,000 wireless calls, texts, and data transmissions in April of this year,” Colley says.
Root Metrics tested each network in the three areas in various locations throughout the Spokane area, he says. The firm looked for things such as calls not being dropped, the speed of data transmission, and the range of coverage.
AT&T has invested a total of $60 million between 2011 and 2013 in its wireless networks in the greater Spokane area, Colley says. This investment included upgrades to enhance speed, network reliability, and area coverage. In 2013 alone, AT&T completed 33 network upgrades in Spokane and Spokane Valley, including new broadband network connections, cell sites, and additional wireless and wired network capacity, he says.
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