Alltel Wireless has announced it is shutting down its outmoded and outdated analogue wireless network next year. The company will no longer provide the service after 31 March, it said. The company’s move could trigger similar moves by rivals, given that the regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will no longer require cell phone companies to provide analogue services from midnight 18 February. AT&T and Verizon Wireless both plan to shut down their analogue services, although neither has as yet set a date. Shutting down the signal will also allow operators to free up spectrum for digital service, resulting in a dramatic increase in capacity. In order to smooth the process, Alltel is offering analogue users the option of either a free digital handset or a USD50 discount on more expensive phones, if they switch to a monthly plan costing USD29.99 or more.