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Amp'd Mobile offers option

August 01, 2007|James S. Granelli | Times Staff Writer

More than 100,000 customers remaining at bankrupt Amp'd Mobile Inc. have to switch to a new carrier today or face silent cellphones at midnight.

Customers of youth-oriented Amp'd Mobile can go to any carrier they choose. But the Los Angeles-based company has worked out a deal with a tiny Maine company for what both hope will be a seamless transition that allows customers to keep their phone numbers and their handsets.

United Systems Access Inc. said its Prexar Mobile unit had purchased the right to offer its monthly plans -- with no contracts -- to Amp'd Mobile's customers. It would not disclose the price, pending a Bankruptcy Court hearing today.

The transition requires customers to go to the Prexar website, www.prexarmobile.com, and provide their name, phone number and one of three codes on their handset. Within two days, they should be on Prexar's system, said Bill Fogg, chief executive of United Systems Access.

Prexar is working with network owners and carriers to avoid any interruption in service, but Fogg said there were "no guarantees."

His company, based in Kennebunk, Maine, provides telephone, television, Internet and wireless service at resorts and corporate housing nationwide. It has nearly 200,000 customers.

"We want to give customers a soft landing," Fogg said. "We don't have as robust an offering as Amp'd Mobile yet, but at least they'll be able to keep their voice service, which for many is the only means of communication they have."

Many customers already have switched to Verizon Wireless, which had carried Amp'd Mobile calls, data and video on its network.

Verizon's demand for $33 million in overdue network lease payments pushed Amp'd into a voluntary bankruptcy filing June 1. Unable to get funding to continue its business, Amp'd started selling its assets Monday.

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james.granelli@latimes.com

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