AT&T to buy divested Verizon assets for $2.35b

AT&T is to pay $2.35 billion for wireless assets Verizon has been forced to divest as a condition of its acquisition of Alltel.

AT&T will acquire wireless licenses and network assets in 79 service areas across 18 states, primarily in rural areas, the company said The acquisition includes 1.5 million current subscribers in these areas.

The selected assets primarily come from Alltel, but also include assets owned by Verizon and the former Rural Cellular Corporation.

Regulators made the sale of these assets a condition for approving Verizon's $28 billion acquisition of Alltel last year. The merger saw Verizon overtake AT&T Mobility in terms of subscribers to become the US's biggest wireless provider.

Before the acquisition, Alltel was the nation's fifth largest wireless operator with 14.7 million customers. Verizon had 84.6 million subscribers as of the end of Q1, while AT&T Mobility had 78.2 million.

Under the arrangement, AT&T will sell some assets from subsidiary Centennial Communications to Verizon for $240 million.

If the transaction is approved by regulators it will close in Q4, AT&T said.