Alltel office finishes transition to Verizon outlet.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Verizon representatives say $275 million has been spent on network enhancements throughout New Mexico and El Paso since 2000 when the company was formed.

By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

A week before the Clovis Alltel office became a Verizon outlet like others across the nation as part of a merger between the two companies, Amanda Tijerina noticed problems with her cell phone.

Her Alltel phone basically became unusable.

But, after a weekend transition to Verizon and a trip to the store on Monday, Tijerina was much happier.

“I had been there last week and, of course, they explained that it was because of the changeover that the towers were down; the towers were transferred over and so forth,” Tijerina said. “For the whole week, you couldn’t dial out, couldn’t receive calls or text messages. For me, it was a week.”

Tijerina, though, got a new workable phone after a trip to the store at 4204 N. Prince — one that switched names in time for business Monday morning.

“They told me, ‘You know, we’re not even going to charge you. Welcome to Verizon,’” she said. “All these people were really working to get the (old) phone going.”

Other local Alltel customers, however, literally couldn’t wait for the transition to be complete.

Former Alltel user Leanna Montano, 21, of Clovis switched to a Virgin Mobile phone on Friday.

“It just stopped working and they didn’t know what to say,” Montano said. “They wanted me to wait, but if you can’t use your phone, why pay for it?”

The Clovis store has 11 employees that were part of the transition from Alltel to Verizon.

Verizon says $275 million has been spent on network enhancements throughout New Mexico and El Paso since 2000, when the company was formed.

According to a Verizon press release, the company is “upgrading and reconfiguring former Alltel cell sites and other network infrastructure in Clovis to work as part of the larger and more advanced network.”

Verizon’s spokesperson for the southwest region, Jenny Weaver, said Verizon took over Alltel in January.

“We’ve worked during these ten months to pull together our billing system and consolidate that,” Weaver said. “Over the weekend, our billing system came together. When they call for customer service, they’ll get a Verizon Wireless customer service representative.”

Weaver said she was unaware of any problems during the transition period.

“Essentially, nothing changed except the signs changed and we rebranded the inside. The phones we’re selling are Verizon Wireless,” Weaver said. “It’s been very smooth and we’re super-excited to be part of the Clovis community right now.”