updated 04:45 pm EDT, Fri May 8, 2009
ATT May Buy Alltel Assets
(Update at end with official information) AT&T is nearing buying up most of the markets Verizon has to shed from Alltel as part of its buyout, purported sources said on Friday. Of the 24 areas that won't be rolled into Verizon's network, AT&T is believed to be buying 18 and would leave the remaining six for smaller carriers as well as private equity firms. It's not known how close a deal may be.
The news arrives just a few days after Verizon pressed for a two-month extension on the deadline for finding companies to take the load and after Verizon officially reported itself as the largest cellular carrier in the US with 86.6 million cellphone users. Acquiring some of these Alltel regions would help AT&T close the gap as well as give it better coverage of the US south and southeast, where Alltel had the widest coverage, as well as smaller regions elsewhere in the country.
Update: AT&T has confirmed the deal, worth $2.35 billion, and will acquire about 1.5 million new customers as part of the transaction. The carrier also says it's divesting five assets of its own to Verizon from Louisiana and Mississippi as part of its previous deal to buy Centennial Communications.