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AT&T spectrum grab: buying Alltel for $780 million

AT&T on Tuesday said it has agreed to buy Alltels U.S. wireless operations, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and about 585,000 subscribers, for $780 million in cash.  Technically, AT&T is buying the operation from the lesser known Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (ATNI).

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The Alltel CDMA network covers approximately 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas across Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The acquisition includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands, which AT&T says complements its network and will provide customers who roam in these areas improved 3G wireless access.

The transaction is subject to review by the FCC and Department of Justice, and AT&T says the deal is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

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