UpRiver residents should expect cell service in the area over the next week.

Inland Cellular reported that area cell towers are now live, but the company is still working on some final adjustments before all sites are fully operational.

Executive Vice President, Chip Damato, said that the the company will conduct performance checks over the next week before service is fully available.

“Sites are live but we will be doing some performance engineering next week,” Mr. Damato said. “What that will do is tell us if there are any tweaks that need to be made before we make it official.”

The sites that are undergoing performance engineering are towers in Santa, Emida and the Palouse Divide. Mr. Damato said that the tower being constructed in the Fernwood area should be completed by the end of the first quarter of the year.

He also said that the installed tower in St. Maries will be operational in the coming weeks following the performance engineering at the UpRiver sites.

Mr. Damato said that when the towers are operational, area residents can expect to be able to receive service on a variety on different cell coverage plans including companies like Verizon and Sprint.

“For the most part Verizon and Sprint customers should be able to roam on these sites,” Mr. Damato said. “They (the towers) are data only which means that the voice is VoLTE, similar to VoIP on the fixed side.”

He said most users with Verizon phones may still not be able to use the service for another few months though.

“Verizon won’t be able to roam for probably another 60 days,” Mr. Damato said. “Either way they will need a phone that has Band 71 in it on the 600 mghz and be VoLTE capable. Most new phones have this.”

He said that anyone confused about the kind of phone they need to be compatible with the service can always call Inland Cellular. Mr. Damato also said that the company can get customers set up with an Inland Cellular phone as well.

“They (area customers) can contact any one of our Inland Cellular locations and get an Inland Cellular phone set up. Another option is to go to InlandCellular.com and connect with us through the website and we will deliver to you,” Mr. Damato said. “Connecting on the website will also include either live chat or live person to ensure all your questions are answered and we are meeting the customers needs.”

For more information on area cell coverage through Inland Cellular, call the main offices at 208-798-0245.

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