May 27, 2009

AT&T Gets Bigger

AT&T Inc. said Friday, May 8, it will buy the assets of Verizon Wireless for $2.35 billion, a deal that will affect 1.5 million subscribers.

Verizon Wireless was forced to sell the service areas, which are spread over 18 states, to satisfy regulatory conditions of its purchase of Alltel Corp for territories that overlap with Verizon's own coverage, and some Verizon territories and areas covered by Rural Cellular, another carrier Verizon bought last year.

Dallas-based AT&T, the country's largest telecommunications company, is getting spectrum licenses, cell towers, and 1.5 million subscribers. Since AT&T phones aren't compatible with Alltel or Verizon phones, these subscribers will need new phones to use AT&T's network. Ah, back to the good old days of reduced competition for phone companies. Caveat Emptor!