The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved AT&T Mobility’s proposed USD780 million purchase of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc’s (ATNI’s) retail wireless business, which operates under the ‘Alltel’ brand. Previously, in August this year the watchdog halted its review into the transaction 175 days into the 180-day process, after concerns over AT&T’s transition strategy for Alltel’s pre-paid subscribers.
While acknowledging that the deal will ‘likely cause some competitive and other public interest harms in several local markets’, the FCC noted that AT&T has accepted a number of conditions, including the maintenance of Alltel’s CDMA2000 EV-DO network until at least June 2015. Further, AT&T is committed to covering Alltel’s entire CDMA network footprint with HSPA+ technology within 15 months of the transaction closing. Meanwhile, 75% of Alltel’s users will be granted access to Long Term Evolution (LTE) services on AT&T’s network within 18 months of closing, rising to 85% within 36.
Through the deal AT&T will acquire 10MHz to 57MHz of spectrum in 162 counties in 30 Cellular Market Areas (CMA) across Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington, as well as Allied’s retail operations located in mostly rural parts of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The smaller company claimed s subscriber base of 590,728 at 30 June 2013.