IT&E marked its first decade of service in the Commonwealth yesterday with a simple but heartfelt celebration that highlighted the many new projects they have lined up to further enhance telecommunications services.
Gathering at their Chalan Laulau Sales Office, IT&E officials, employees, and customers shared a huge cake as a simple get-together to mark the occasion.
According to IT&E chief operating officer John Compton, they wanted it to be simple in light of what the situation is on island after Typhoon Soudelor. Nonetheless, he noted that 10 years in the telecommunications industry is a big deal for them.
“We’re really excited, this is our 10th anniversary. A lot of people don’t make it 10 years,” Compton said.
“We’re all happy about making 10. This is a difficult business, difficult environment so we think 10 years is a very big deal. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate it with our employees and you can see we’re in the sales center, to celebrate with our customers too,” he added.
Compton said 10 years in the telecom business is a lifetime and that they will continue to be better through 10 more years.
“We try very, very hard to get better every day. I think our track record for the last 10 years shows that we have gotten better. We look back at where we were when we bought the company, we’ve advanced tremendously,” Compton said.
IT&E purchased the company from Verizon in 2005.
“Our mission is to provide the best possible service to each and every one of our customers and that means if we need to change the technology or change the services or provide new phones, that’s what we’ll do,” Compton added.
IT&E continues to press ahead with major investments in the CNMI. A total of $30 million worth of investment has been planned and will begin soon.
Among their projects is to bring the 4G LTE network to the CNMI, which is basically increased capacities and faster data speeds. Compton said this will double the capacity of all the cellular network here.
According to Sales and Marketing manager Hans Mickelson, they are going to try and keep the cost of LTE close to what is being paid by customers now.
“When you get a premium product you do have to pay a little bit more,” Mickelson said. “We have to keep it eligible and affordable for people. We want people to use it.”
Another project is setting up a buried fiber optic network islandwide.
“I think the recent storm has taught us all the lesson that wires in the air sometimes don’t work out very well. So we’re going to bury every inch of it,” Compton said.
IT&E will also have six new cell sites in the CNMI, two each for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
“We do our best to cover all the customers and where they live but inevitably, you end up in some spots that are not well covered. So we’re investing in more towers and more equipment to cover those areas,” Compton said.
In the wake of the cut in their undersea fiber optic cable that shut down communications in the CNMI, Compton said they already made some maintenance to the cable, which includes the installation of articulated armors as well as repinning the cable.
“We hired some professionals to dive every inch of the cable, from Guam to here and back again, that they can possibly reach. …That was completed two weeks ago,” Compton said.
IT&E also made slight changes to their logo. The words “Life in Motion” are now in red, blue and green to make it more colorful and stand out.
“We’ve had some bad times recently. Now is the right time to revitalize the brand, revitalize our service, revitalize our employees,” Compton said.