ATandT Completes Acquisition of Verizon Assets
Network operator AT&T announced it completed its acquisition of
wireless assets from Verizon Wireless, which enhances AT&T's
wireless network coverage in primarily rural areas in 79 service areas
across 18 states. Verizon agreed to divest the properties to secure
regulatory approvals for its purchase of Alltel in 2009. Over a period
of approximately 12 months, AT&T said it would launch service on a
market-by-market basis as network integration work is completed, noting
there would be no changes to customers' phone numbers, rate plans,
network coverage or processes for making monthly bill payments.
Under terms of the agreement, AT&T is purchasing the assets for about $2.35 billion in cash. The transaction primarily represents former Alltel assets, but it also includes assets from Verizon Wireless and the former Rural Cellular Corporation. In 2009, AT&T's capital investments totaled $17.3 billion, and AT&T said it plans to invest between $18 billion and 19 billion in 2010, including an increase of approximately $2 billion over 2009 levels in wireless network and supporting wireline backhaul investments.
Specifically, the transaction extends AT&T's wireless network coverage in rural areas of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. Once network transition work is completed, the approximately 1.6 million subscribers in these service areas would have access to AT&T's 3G wireless network, which the company said it plans to roll out in all acquired areas.
Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T's mobility and consumer markets, highlighted the benefits of the 3G mobile broadband network would bring to new customers. "Mobile broadband is changing how we live our lives and transforming every sector of business," he said. "We're excited that with this acquisition, AT&T will bring the benefits of mobile broadband to new subscribers and an array of emerging devices like eReaders and netbooks, the ability to talk and browse the Web at the same time and access to more than 225,000 apps."
The company said it would inform subscribers of changes in advance and is committed to making the transition "as easy and convenient as possible". Rebranding to AT&T will also occur on a market-by-market basis as service is launched, the company noted. During network integration, customers will have the ability to select a device comparable to their existing device at no additional cost and AT&T said they could also choose an upgraded handset from AT&T's lineup of devices.