The Buzz: February 18, 2002

Verizon Wireless is acquiring assets of Dobson in hopes of expanding its network.

Verizon Takes Rural Route

Verizon wireless is paying $465 million to acquire wireless services in some rural areas, including Southeastern California, Northern Georgia, Northern Ohio and Eastern Tennessee. The purchase of a fifth Dobson Communications market, covering Gila and Pinal counties in Central and Southern Arizona, is expected to close later this month.

Verizon Wireless is acquiring assets of Dobson in hopes of expanding its network. Those assets include network facilities, customer service operations and about 125 employees.

Verizon Wireless will begin converting Dobsons Time Division Multiple Access network infrastructure to its preferred Code Division Multiple Access network platform.

More Iridium Satellites Launch

It was less than two years ago when Iridium, a company built on the premise of using satellites for wireless phones, planned to let the 73 satellites it had circling earth break their orbits and burn up upon re-entering the atmosphere.

Iridium had shut down its service amid soaring costs and low customer interest—thanks to the onslaught of cellular services and next-generation wireless technologies—and was planning to destroy its satellites. But the company has since been reincarnated as Iridium Satellite and this month launched five new satellites to be used as spares for the 73 still in space.

Iridium Satellite paid $25 million for the original Iridiums assets; the original cost Motorola and other investors about $5 billion to launch in 1997.

Looking Out for the Little Guys

Keeping unwanted people out of your computer is as much a concern for small businesses as for the largest enterprises.

So Gateway, which has made its bones selling systems to small businesses and consumers, is going to help customers protect those computers. For $199, Gateway will develop a customized security plan for small businesses, complete with software and hardware options, and will send an expert to uncover security holes.