It looks like we’re in the middle of consolidation season in the US wireless industry. After T-Mobile announced its merger with smaller carrier MetroPCS a couple of months ago, AT&T is now following in those footsteps as it decided to purchase a small company of its own.
AT&T will buy Alltel’s wireless business for a cool $780 million in cash. That means that AT&T will get Alltel’s licenses, network assets, and retail stores – essentially the entirety of the wireless carrier known as Alltel. AT&T will also be getting Alltel’s 585,000 subscribers, of course.
Image via Engadget
Alltel operates primarily in rural areas in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina, and this buyout will help AT&T improve its coverage and spectrum in those areas. The company even mentioned that the acquired spectrum is “largely complementary” to its existing network. It expects voice services as well as the mobile internet experience in these areas to become significantly better for its customers if the buy is approved by the FCC and DOJ.
There aren’t many reasons why those authorities would not approve this deal, though, for as you may have gathered from the number of its subscribers, Alltel was a pretty small operation and the buyout is unlikely to affect carrier market share in a big way.
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