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Cell phone service in Alaska (AT&T)

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My mother will be in Alaska (on a cruise) in June and will be using a cell phone to keep in touch with us (while on shore). Her wireless provider is AT&T. I called AT&T and the representative said that there are not many cell phone towers in Alaska and that she should not expect service. I think I got a fairly uninformed representative (she did not know that Alaska was part of the United States), so I checked on their website and it does not look like they have service anywhere besides Juneau.

Anyone have experiece with this? What are some of the providers there? I am presuming there will be payphones around which she could use as well to keep in touch.

Thank you!

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