Now that wireless providers in the U.S. have blanketed major urban areas with 3G and 4G LTE coverage, the companies will now have to do the hard work of providing wireless data coverage for the potential subscribers spread widely throughout rural America. It follows that smaller rural providers are becoming hot commodities,
Alltel announced today that it has been sold to AT&T for $780 million. Alltel serves around 585,000 subscribers in the rural areas of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, and Idaho.
“We are pleased that AT&T recognizes the value of our U.S. wireless retail operations and is acquiring these assets,” said Michael Prior, CEO of Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN), the parent company of Alltell. “Alltel’s customers will benefit from access to a nationwide 4G network, a larger device selection, additional retail locations and a broader range of product offerings. Additionally, many of our employees should benefit from new career opportunities within AT&T. We will work closely with AT&T to close the transaction and to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and employees.”
The sale price of $780 million consists of cash only – no stock transactions have been announced. The close of the sale will have to wait for regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Alltel estimates that the acquisition will be complete sometime during the second half of 2013.