T-Mobile

In this file photo, a man uses a cellphone as he passes a T-Mobile store in New York City. The global cellular service giant is expanding into Billings. 

Associated Press

National cell phone carrier T-Mobile will open a store in the Billings Heights and expand cell service to the Billings area in the coming months. 

"I don’t have a firm date of opening, but the team is pushing hard to get the store open as soon as possible," a T-Mobile spokesman said by email.

The store is at 315 Main St. in a small strip mall just east of the Metra. It's the first T-Mobile store in town and marks the company's first foray into Eastern Montana. Earlier this year, T-Mobile set up shop in Missoula, Helena and Butte. 

"That distribution growth is fueled by our ongoing network growth and improvements," the spokesman said.

T-Mobile has made moves to expand its network into more rural areas and expand its reach in areas where it's already operating. In 2017, the company opened 1,500 new retail stores nationwide. 

The expansion comes two months after Verizon announced and then under pressure canceled plans to drop the contracts of rural users in Eastern Montana. 

In September, the company notified around 900 users in Montana, part of 8,500 customers nationwide, that they would no longer be eligible for a Verizon plan because the costs of data roaming exceeded the amount those customers pay for their monthly plans.

Verizon ultimately reversed course and decided to keep those contracts in place after Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte contacted Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and explained the importance of quality cell coverage in rural Montana. 

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Business Reporter

Business Reporter for the Billings Gazette.