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Alltel awarded 5-year UA cell phone contract


Photo
KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Physiology junior Tuan Vo signs up for an Alltel cell phone plan from representative Brian Brinkley yesterday afternoon on the UA Mall. Alltel is now the official cell phone provider for the UA.
By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
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The UA signed a five-year contract with Alltel over the summer, making them the official communications provider on campus.

With the contract, campus departments will receive a 20 percent discount on university-issued phones. Staff, faculty and students can also receive a 10 percent discount on individual services.

The UA had many service options to choose from. It was narrowed down to four companies, and Alltel was finally selected.

"Alltel was a clear-cut winner over the other candidates," said Steve Mack, director of procurement and contracting services.

The UA benefits from this contract by receiving scholarships and other sponsorships for UA students.

"By leveraging the entire university to a single provider, the university gets a better deal now than they did with multiple contracts," Mack said.

This is the first official communications provider at the UA. The transition of plans to Alltel by departments is not mandatory.

By switching plans, departments benefit from a 20 percent service discount, 20 percent off accessories, free or discounted equipment, sponsorship dollars for campus programs, loaner phones for approved events and the option to keep existing phone numbers.

As the official provider for this campus, Alltel is the exclusive communications provider that may sell their product at the UA. No other companies will be allowed to market their services on campus and the UofA Bookstore will only sell Alltel, said Frank Farias, director of the bookstore.

The athletics department is already using Alltel, because the company is a corporate sponsor of UA sports. Other departments such as Residence Life and the Student Union Memorial Center are considering making the change.

Residence Life currently uses about 80 company cell phones and the student union, including food service, has between 50 and 80 phones, some of which are already Alltel.

The student union is using loaner phones to get an idea of the quality of service the phones receive inside the building.

Bill Shiba, senior associate director of the student union, said the department is looking into the possibility of using cell phones and will not reach a decision for at least a month.

"We haven't made any decisions yet, but we are looking into it and testing the service area," he said.

Departments use the phones to simplify the ability to reach faculty and staff. Those with cell phones have shown the UA that a need for a cell phone is present because they are in and out of their offices, walking across campus or traveling regularly.

"Departments must have a good and reasonable need for cell phones," Mack said.

The UA is advertising for Alltel and is sending out e-mail notifications to departments and students to inform them of offers available from the wireless provider.



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