Eclipse unlikely to interrupt cell service, but big crowds might, say provider

Aug 15, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The coming total solar eclipse is expected to bring thousands of people to rural parts of the state where large crowds don't typically congregate.

The influx of people will have an impact on local infrastructure - from sewer lines to roads - and cell phone towers aren't exempt.

Brian Woody, chief customer relations officer at Union Wireless, says the eclipse itself won't impact service, but the number of people trying to connect all at once is creating some concern for local officials.

He is confident that his system will be able to handle the extra load, though, especially with the fiber network being installed in the Lander area.

"I don't see there being as big an issue as everybody's worried about," Woody said.

Verizon and Sprint customers don't use the Union Wireless network in Wyoming, but AT&T, T Mobile and other GSM (global system for mobile) carriers do.

Woody said these roaming agreements make up about 60 percent of Union Wireless' regular usage, with the rest comprised of local customers.

"We're up to about 190 international roaming agreements," he said. "So we try to build a pretty robust network, not just for our customers but for other customers that happen to come through our area."

There is no other GSM provider in the region, he noted.

Union Wireless has been based in Wyoming since its inception 100 years ago.

"We've always been in Wyoming, and we try to take care of our neighbors and friends (in) a lot of places nobody else would," Woody said. "That's what we're all about."

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