JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Cell phone users have reported unusual outages and unreliable service lately. Of course, it could be somewhat subjective and selective, but too many reports have made it impossible to ignore as a potential news story.
Buckrail has heard from many smartphone users that their service has been suddenly disrupted especially when travelling south of town around the Hoback Junction area. This spotty service appears to have nothing to do with ongoing construction on S Highway 89.
Subscribers to Silver Star in Star Valley, for instance, have contacted Buckrail about their lack of service upon exiting the Snake River Canyon headed for Jackson. The canyon has been a notorious dead zone, but most all mobile users pick up a signal by the time they get to the roundabout at Hoback Junction. Not anymore for Silver Star customers.
Meanwhile, CenturyLink has been plagued with numerous outages over fiber cuts to its trunkline due to highway construction.
Some Silver Star customers have reported being told by company reps that Silver Star is “turning off” or “turning down” some cell towers as it plans to phase out cell phone service as part of its offerings. Not so, said Silver Star.
When contacted by Buckrail, a company spokesperson directed us to a press release they had issued of their own accord just days before. Buckrail reposts it here for potentially-affected users.
Recently, Silver Star’s wireless services have been the subject of several comments in social media. In an effort to ensure that our customers are receiving factual information, we felt it best to respond formally that Silver Star is NOT exiting our cellular business. However, out of necessity, we have made substantial changes to some of our markets and in an effort to be transparent to our customers we will list those changes below:
Mobile Wireless Service:
For the past decade, Silver Star has been the wireless carrier providing mobile wireless services in Bonneville, Caribou and Teton County, Idaho as well as Lincoln and Teton County, Wyoming. In September, Silver Star partnered with a large National Wireless Provider to offer wireless services with more affordable rate plans in the counties outside of Lincoln County where the coverage most closely matched that of Silver Star’s existing network. These customers remain Silver Star customers and now utilize the partner network both locally and nationally.
Additionally, Silver Star entered into an agreement to sell the spectrum (network frequency) that was previously used to deliver wireless services in these markets and has been systematically turning down the towers in these counties. While we were hopeful that the impact to coverage would be minimal, it has exposed some network gaps of our partner provider.
In Star Valley, we continue to offer wireless services utilizing the Silver Star network. We do understand that this change will also impact those traveling in those other markets where they will now be roaming on another provider.
We made a decision, in error, to only notice those customers who would be converting to the partner network in order to reduce any confusion for those customers in Lincoln County. We apologize for our lack of judgement in not making all customers aware of the potential for degraded coverage areas. We continue to work with our new wireless partner in requesting service coverage improvements.
Fixed LTE Internet:
The spectrum used to deliver Silver Star’s Fixed LTE Internet Services was sold off as part of a larger sale of spectrum to another wireless carrier. We are no longer offering this service to customers located in Teton County, Wyoming and Teton County, Idaho. These customers have been notified directly by Silver Star and we are actively working with them to help facilitate in finding another solution for service. We continue to offer 4G LTE Internet in our Lincoln County, Wyoming market and services there will not be impacted by the spectrum sale.
Silver Star will continue to maintain all existing store locations to serve our customers with in-person, 1:1 service and to help them with their voice, internet, managed Wi-Fi, and computer and phone repair needs.