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ACS brings Android-Powered Phones to Alaska


ANCHORAGE, Alaska, January 21 -- Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc. (“ACS”) (NASDAQ: ALSK), Alaska's leading integrated communications provider, today announced the arrival of the much anticipated Android™-powered HTC Hero™ from ACS.

The Hero is the first device in Alaska to offer the combination of the open and innovative Android platform with the high-speed and high-capacity connectivity of Alaska’s largest and most dependable 3G network.

Offering a rich, mobile Internet experience, the Android platform is Google’s™ operating system for mobile devices.  The user has access to all Google services in a small-format, hand-held device:  Google Search™, Google Maps™, Gmail™ and YouTube™, along with more than 25,000 applications built for the Android platform by a growing set of independent developers.

Beginning today at 8:00 p.m. customers may purchase the HTC Hero at ACS’ flagship store at 600 Telephone Ave. during a special launch event from 8:00 p.m. until midnight.  Also beginning at 8:00 p.m., customers may order the HTC Hero online at www.acsalaska.com/android.  Beginning on Fri., Jan. 22, the HTC Hero will be available at all ACS retail stores for $99 with specially tailored Android Life or Android Family Life plans.

“The arrival of HTC Hero and the Android platform to ACS’ network is an important milestone for our customers and the Alaska wireless market,” said Mike Todd, ACS vice president of engineering.  “With the dependability and coverage of ACS’ 3G network, HTC Hero users will appreciate the best possible mobile device experience in Alaska.  And, with our roaming partner in the Lower 48, ACS customers will experience the fastest and broadest 3G coverage when traveling outside of the state.”

Alaskans will find countless apps geared specifically toward their lifestyle on Android Market, the online software store developed by Google for Android devices, including apps for ski times, trails, weather, maps, fishing, hunting and more.  Importantly, 62 percent of apps on the Android Market are free.

Often compared to the iPhone and Apple’s App Store, and subject of countless reviews and industry analyst reports, the Android platform offers a “wildly more compelling” user experience, according to Gizmodo.com, a leading technology blog. Gartner, Inc., a global information technology research and advisory firm, forecasts that by 2012 Android will displace iPhone as the leading app-centric wireless platform.

“The Android-powered HTC Hero from ACS is the one device people need that will cover all aspects of their lives,” said Anand Vadapalli, ACS chief operations officer.  “Users will enjoy the same Internet services they’ve become accustomed to on their desktop PC, with more options for customization.  Offering access to thousands of applications, a suite of Google services, and multiple personalization features, the HTC Hero offers a unique mobile experience.”

The device’s seven-panel-wide home screen can easily be customized to fit the individual needs of the user – from work to travel and play.  For example, a work screen may be set up to include work email, calendar and stock updates.  A play screen may include games, music, Twitter and Facebook and a travel screen may include local time, weather and maps.

The HTC Hero also offers pinch-to-zoom capability, integrated GPS navigation and trackball navigation.  Additional features include:

  • Built-in Google apps - one-touch access to Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube.  All your Google accounts are instantly synced, including your calendar, e-mail and contacts.
  • Outlook integration – a single app supports all your inboxes, including corporate and personal email accounts.
  • Expandable memory
  • Removable battery
  • 5.0 MP camera and camcorder
  • Easy access to social networking sites including Facebook®, Flickr® and Twitter®
  • Visual voice mail for quick and easy access to specific voice mail messages

HTC Hero from ACS comes with a special monthly plan with unlimited service for one flat fee.  Dubbed ACS Android Life, it includes unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited data, unlimited text and access to thousands of apps and exclusive ACS Android Life benefits for only $99 per month.  Families can enjoy the same benefits for $188 per month for the first two Android Life users and $79 per month for each additional Android Life user.

About Alaska Communications Systems
Headquartered in Anchorage, ACS is Alaska's leading provider of broadband and other wireline and wireless solutions to Enterprise and mass market customers. The ACS wireline operations include the state's most advanced data networks and the only diverse undersea fiber optic system connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States. The ACS wireless operations include a statewide 3G CDMA network, reaching across Alaska from the North Slope to Ketchikan, with coverage extended via best-in-class CDMA carriers in the Lower 49 and Canada. By investing in the fastest-growing market segments and attracting the highest-quality customers, ACS seeks to drive top and bottom-line growth, while continually improving customer experience and cost structure through process improvement. More information can be found on the company's website at www.acsalaska.com or at its investor site at www.alsk.com.

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