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City Officials Approve New Carrier for Staff Cell Phones

Wheaton employees required to be on call for residents will switch from Nextel, now Sprint, to AT&T phones.

Wheaton City Council approved a bid to switch cell phone services from Nextel to AT&T for 63 city employees at its meeting Monday night.

The city will switch to AT&T after 10 years with Nextel. According to a city memo, staff solicited proposals from other carriers when Sprint bought Nextel and began to shut down the Nextel network.

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With eight phones, the water department will continue to use Sprint, the only carrier that offers a cost effective push-to-talk feature, according to the memo.

The $36,337 bid for phone services came in about $4,900 under budget, City Manager Don Rose told Council on Monday.

City staff chose the AT&T service because of its lower cost, text messaging on all phones, better coverage, improved data speeds and no early termination fees, IT Director Chad Michaelis wrote in his recommendation to purchase the service.

“We equip only those employees who we require to be available on a moment’s notice for servicing citizen requests,” Michaelis said. “Employees that carry these understand they’re on call 24/7 to the citizens.”

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