Shentel reports continuing wireless growth

Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) has reported that its wireless growth is continuing and the rate with which the company is performing network upgrades is exceeding expectations.

Earle MacKenzie is Shentel’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. He explained the upgrade process and its goal.

“It’s upgrading the network from 3G to 4G, which is basically faster data,” he said. “It’s also adding capacity to that network for the growing amount of data usage and we’re also expanding the coverage. Between 2016, 17 and 18 we’ll be adding about 220 new cell sites, which will add a significant amount of coverage in the former nTelos area and will make our network equal to or better than our competitors.”

MacKenzie explained what he believes to be the reason behind the faster-than-anticipated upgrade progress.

“I think two things – the folks did go above and beyond but we also had a very good transition for having the nTelos employees join Shentel,” he said. “Because that was a smooth transition we didn’t miss any opportunities to keep the construction program going. It really gets down to people either way. They did a great job once we got started but we also had a good start.”

According to a release from Shentel on its fourth quarter of 2016, the company had “722,562 wireless postpaid customers, a fourth quarter increase of 3,777 postpaid net additions, with 7,014 postpaid net additions in its Legacy area. For 2016, taking into consideration the 404,965 postpaid customers acquired in the nTelos transaction on May 6th, the company added 5,085 total net postpaid additions in 2016, with 16,854 net additions in the Legacy area during the year. Net additions in the fourth quarter were impacted by issues with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and a shortage of new iPhone 7’s early in the quarter.”

The report did not include any financial information, but MacKenzie said such information will be released in early March.

“I’m very pleased,” MacKenzie said. “We saw a lot of progress in our wireless business but equally we saw good progress in our cable operations and expanding our fiber networks.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com