Cellular One

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Cellular One logo

Cellular One is the trademarked brand name that licenses services (radio frequencies they personally own for telecommunications) used by several cellular service providers in the United States. The brand was sold to Trilogy Partners by AT&T in 2008 shortly after AT&T had completed its acquisition of Dobson Communications. Cellular One was originally the trade name of one of the first mobile telephone service providers.


In 1977, the American Radio Telephone Service and Motorola formed Cellular One to offer services to the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area. In 1984, cellular service began in the Baltimore/DC area.

The Baltimore/DC service, and the rights to the name Cellular One, were sold from Metromedia to Southwestern Bell in 1987. In 1989, Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems and McCaw Communications formed a partnership called Cellular One Group. In 1992, Vanguard Cellular Systems joined the group. In 1995, Cellular One opened up membership in the partnership to all A-side providers. Under the US AMPS allocation, A-side providers were independent wireless operators, while B-side providers were usually affiliates of the local landline telephone company. A new slogan was also developed, "Cellular One: Clear Across America", recognizing cellular's national reach, although there were very few national plans at this time. In 1995, Cellular One affiliates had over 5 million customers and affiliates' towers served approximately 69% of the US population.[1] Also in 1995, SNET joined the partnership. Not all A-side carriers participated: most notably, L.A. Cellular, in the nation's second largest market, Los Angeles, never participated in Cellular One, and did not have agreements with Cellular One for some time. AT&T purchased McCaw Cellular in 1994; shortly thereafter, AT&T renamed the former McCaw providers "AT&T Wireless" and dropped out of the partnership. Western Wireless joined the partnership in 1999, and in 2001, the Cellular One group name became the sole property of Western Wireless.

Western Wireless[edit]

Western Wireless operated under the Cellular One brand prior to being purchased by Alltel in August 2005.


The Cellular One brand name was also used by Dobson Cellular in various rural markets in the continental US and in Alaska. In December 2005, Dobson purchased the rights to the Cellular One name from Alltel. However, their services were completely unrelated. Dobson used a TDMA and GSM network; Western Wireless used a GSM, AMPS, TDMA and CDMA network. As of 15 November 2007, Dobson was acquired by AT&T Inc., except several areas still operated under the Cellular One brand name.[clarification needed] The Cellular One brand was sold to Trilogy Partners as a result of the terms of the acquisition agreement.

Regional markets that operate under the Cellular One brand name[edit]

Market Name Web site Holding company Owners Notes
Northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico Cellular One of East Arizona cellularoneonline.com Smith Bagley Inc. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley and children[2]
Louisiana and Texas Cellular One cellonenation.com Central Louisiana Cellular, LLC, and Texas 10 LLC Alta Communications[3]
Southwestern New York CellOne cellone.com Buffalo-Lake Erie Wireless Systems Co., LLC Dr. Michael C. Gelfand and family More territory covered under the Blue Wireless brand

Former Cellular One partners[edit]

Independent wireless providers[edit]

  • Indigo Wireless (Formerly Cellular One of West Nebraska, and Cellular One of north central Pennsylvania)
  • Viaero Wireless (Formerly Cellular One of Northeast Colorado)
  • Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative
  • Choice Wireless, LLC - Texas and Oklahoma
  • One Communications (Formerly Cell One of Bermuda)[4]
  • US Cellular (Formerly Madison Cellular Telephone Co. and Westel Milwaukee Company, Inc.[5] of BellSouth Mobility[6]) - Wisconsin and northern Illinois[7][8][9]

Partners acquired by Verizon Wireless[edit]

  • Unicel (Rural Cellular Corporation - AL, KS, MA, MN, MS, OR, ME, NH) Completed August 2008[10]
  • Price Communications Wireless (Bay County FL, Southern GA including Macon and Albany, Southern AL including Dothan and Montgomery, and southern SC) purchase completed in August 2002[11]
  • Alabama Wireless, Inc. (Cellular One of Northern Alabama) Purchased January 2002[12]
  • Contel Cellular/GTE Mobilnet (operated under the Cellular One name in most of Tennessee, north-west Georgia, northern Alabama, and north central Kentucky; dropped the Cellular One name and switched to the GTE Wireless name in the late 1990s)
  • Cell One Kansas City: Owned and operated by Airtouch, morphed into Verizon at launch in 2000
  • Cellular One of Northeast Pennsylvania Wayne and Pike counties, Pennsylvania (South Canaan Cellular, owned by US Cellular until Verizon Wireless acquisition)[13]

Verizon properties Originally acquired by Alltel prior to the January 2009 merger

  • Cellular XL (Cellular One of Mississippi) Purchased December 2002[14]
  • HickoryTech Wireless (Cellular One of Mankato) Purchased by Western Wireless Jan. 2004
  • Western Wireless (Cellular One West - AZ, AR, CA, CO, IA, ID, KS, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, SD, TX, UT & WY) Purchased Jan. 2005
  • Virginia Cellular (CellOne Virginia) Purchased 2005
  • Cellular One of Amarillo Purchased April 2006[15]
  • Cellular One of Baton Rouge, Louisiana (owned by the former James Garvey's Radiofone of Metairie, Louisiana, which SBC bought; divested by SBC to Alltel when SBC and BellSouth formed Cingular because BellSouth already had a cellular system in Baton Rouge)

Partners now owned by AT&T[edit]

  • Unicel only in the states of VT, NY and WA. Other Unicel systems were acquired by Verizon.
  • AT&T Wireless (original McCaw systems; see above)
  • Vanguard Cellular (see above)
  • BellSouth Cellular (operated under the Cellular One name instead of the BellSouth name in the Indianapolis, IN and Chicago areas with Chicago later sold to SBC Communications; both switched to the Cingular brand when SBC and BellSouth formed Cingular)
  • Centennial Communications (operated under the Cellular One name in northern Indiana, Louisiana, southwest Michigan, and Mississippi; later dropped the Cellular One name and rebranded as Centennial Wireless; company acquired by AT&T in 2009 with most Mississippi and Louisiana assets divested to Verizon Wireless)
  • Santa Cruz Cellular Telephone Company, Santa Cruz County, CA (purchased by Dobson in the mid-1990s sold to AT&T in approximately 2002)-This was a key purchase for AT&T as only missing holes in O&O Northern California coverage were San Benito & Santa Cruz counties, owned then, by Dobson.
  • Easterbrooke Cellular, Elkins, WV- Purchased on January 3, 2008 to expand coverage in West Virginia[16]
  • Dobson Communications acquisitions
    • PriCellular (New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, West Virginia, Tennessee) — Acquired by American Cellular on March 1998[17]
    • American Cellular — Purchased August 2003[18]
    • RFB Cellular, Inc (Cellular One of Northeast Michigan) — Purchased by Dobson Communications on December 2004[19]
    • Highland Cellular (VA, WV) — Purchased in October 2006 by American Cellular (a subsidiary of Dobson Communications)[20]
  • Cellular Communications of Puerto Rico, Inc (Cellular One Puerto Rico, also serves U.S. Virgin Islands) — Acquired by SBC Communications and Telmex for $814 million in 1999,[21][22] switched to the Cingular brand when SBC and BellSouth formed Cingular.[23]
  • Cellular One of Lake Charles, Louisiana (first acquired by Centennial Wireless which was purchased by AT&T in Nov. 2008)
  • San Luis Obispo County, California (SLO Cellular) — Sold to AT&T, service ends Jan 17, 2011.
  • Long Lines Wireless (Formerly Cellular One of Great Lakes of Iowa) - Acquired by AT&T July 2013[24]
  • Edge Wireless (AT&T Affiliate merged into AT&T in April 2008). Edge Wireless served Northern California, Southern Oregon, Southeastern and Southcetral Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming.
  • Cellular One of East Central Illinois (Cellular Properties Inc.), purchased in 2016.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19980120092823/http://cellularone.com/PR_network.html
  2. ^ "Indirect Ownership, Ownership, 01/28/2016". FCC. 2016-01-28. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Indirect Ownership, Ownership, 10/18/2012". FCC. 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  4. ^ "http://bernews.com/2016/11/video-two-into-one-equals-new-unified-brand/".  External link in |title= (help)
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19970704040245/http://www.cellular1to1.com:80/sweep.html
  6. ^ http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/ApplicationSearch/applMain.jsp;JSESSIONID_APPSEARCH=M1BlZt2TyWvPG3QR5gQrvM7KLnGz4jL7zLMJGyqgJYnnwKcJ543B!-1891113741!NONE?applID=326526
  7. ^ "CHICAGO COMPANY GAINS CONTROL OF CELLULAR ONE.(Business Thursday)". HighBeam Research. 1997-02-06. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Cellular Corporation History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19990209002209/http://uscc.com:80/USCellular_bystate/WI
  10. ^ "http://news.vzw.com/news/2008/08/pr2008-08-07.html".  External link in |title= (help)
  11. ^ "http://news.vzw.com/news/2002/08/pr2002-08-15a.html".  External link in |title= (help)
  12. ^ "http://goliath.ecnext.com/comsite5/bin/pdinventory.pl?pdlanding=1&referid=2750&item_id=0199-1461881".  External link in |title= (help)
  13. ^ http://news.verizonwireless.com/news/2012/03/pr2012-03-14v.html
  14. ^ "http://www.accessmylibrary.com/comsite5/bin/pdinventory.pl?pdlanding=1&referid=2930&purchase_type=ITM&item_id=0286-11287084".  External link in |title= (help)
  15. ^ "http://www.hoinews.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=7001".  External link in |title= (help)
  16. ^ "http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=4800&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=24998".  External link in |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Cellular firms ring up deal". CNNMoney. CNN. 1998-03-09. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  18. ^ "Dobson Communications Completes Acquisition Of American Cellular Corporation; Creates Ninth Largest U.S. Wireless Provider" (Press release). Primezone (via ArriveNet). Prime Newswire. 2003-08-19. Archived from the original (An ad script in the page contains a faulty redirect (See below).) on 2007-09-30.  To view the page, do either of the following:
    • Temporarily turn off JavaScript, or
    • disable JavaScript for just web.archive.org, or
    • view the archive.org page in a browser that does not use JavaScript, such as Lynx or Dillo.
  19. ^ "Dobson Communications Purchases RFB Cellular, Inc. Assets in Northern Michigan" (Press release). Dobson Communications Corporation (via irconnect.com). 2004-12-29. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. 
  20. ^ "American Cellular buys Highland for $95M". boston.com Business. The Boston Globe. Associated Press. 2006-10-05. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. 
  22. ^ "AMERICA MOVIL SAB DE CV, Form 20-F, Filing Date Jul 2, 2001" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 15, 2018. 
  23. ^ "CINGULAR WIRELESS LLC, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Mar 11, 2003". secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 15, 2018. 
  24. ^ http://www.longlines.com/about/pr.php?id=34