US telecoms giant AT&T has confirmed that it has signed an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc (ATNI) to acquire the company’s US retail operations, which are operated under the ‘Alltel’ brand, for USD780 million in cash. Under terms of the agreement AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licences, network assets, retail stores and more than half a million subscribers. The acquisition includes spectrum in the 700MHz, 850MHz and 1900MHz bands covering around 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas in the states of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The transaction is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) as well as other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be finalised in the second half of 2013.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Alltel or Allied Wireless Communications Corporation (AWCC) to give it its full name, was formed in connection with ATNI’s agreement to purchase wireless properties, licences and network assets from Verizon Wireless in early 2010; the larger company was required by the FCC to sell its assets in these coverage areas after agreeing to acquire the majority of Alltel Wireless in June 2008, in a deal valued at USD28.1 billion. Interestingly, AT&T’s deal means that the final piece of the former Alltel Wireless has now been absorbed into a Tier 1 carrier.
As at end-September 2012 ATNI reported a US subscriber base of 583,607, down from 618,862 one year earlier and 786,295 in September 2010. Further afield, ATNI’s subsidiaries include: Choice Communications (based in the Virgin Islands US), Islandcom (Turks & Caicos), CellOne (Bermuda) and GT&T (Guyana). The company also owns and operates both terrestrial and submarine fibre-optic transport systems.