Verizon Wireless service was interrupted on June 24, when several rural communities in Montana lost the ability to roam on to local AT&T towers. The towns included Lincoln, Virginia City, Lima, Broadview and the Absarokee-Fishtail area, according to a state Department of Justice news release.
Late in June, users began to contact the state Office of Consumer Protection and the Public Service Commission to complain about the disruption, said Anastasia Burton, deputy communications director with the Montana Department of Justice.
The service disruption began after a three-year contract allowing calls of Verizon subscribers to roam using AT&T cell towers in-state ended on June 22, according to a news release from Burton. The contract was part of a deal brokered when AT&T bought Alltel from Verizon in Montana in 2010.
Verizon has been attempting to address projected coverage issue in the last three years, according to a Verizon spokesman, and is currently acting to fill in the shortfalls.
On July 2, the carrier responded by deploying cell towers on wheels in rural locations around Montana, according to TV station KAJ18, with additional permanent towers slated to come online in mid-July and early August, accord to a Verizon spokesman.
Ironically, Verizon Wireless sent out a press release in March of this year touting an expansion of its Montana LTE service to include the Great Falls metropolitan area, as well as along I-15 to include the Great Falls International Airport and along Hwy 87 to include Black Eagle. Verizon Wireless had previously launched 4G LTE service in the include Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Kalispell, Missoula and other locations.