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GCI launches prepaid smartphone service

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

General Communications, Inc. recently launched Alaska’s first prepaid smartphone option, allowing customers to use certain Android smartphones without a contract.

MICHAEL PENN / JUNEAU EMPIRE
MICHAEL PENN / JUNEAU EMPIRE

“We’re excited to be the first to provide a prepaid smartphone plan for Alaska,” said Paul Landes, GCI’s senior vice president of consumer services, in a press release. “At GCI, we try our best to satisfy the various needs of all of our customers and now they have one more option to fit their lifestyle.”

Senior Manager Rachael Hodgson of GCI consumer marketing said CGI decided on having prepaid smartphones, which use e-mail, texting, and Internet service, because many Alaskans are very mobile and transitory. She said in such a market, it is a good option to offer services for the periods of time needed rather than insisting on contracts. She said customers using the prepaid plans can also jump onto contracts later if they choose.

The option applies only to CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) model phones. Hodgson said it may cover any CDMA smartphone GCI currently sells, and in many cases a customer can apply it to phones they already own.

“They don’t have to buy it from us, but it does have to be one we sell,” she said.

She added the prepaid services will only reach in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, since those have the majority of Southeast Alaska’s CDMA towers.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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