Verizon Wireless income up, buys RCC

Verizon Wireless added 1.3 million net new subscribers during its second quarter, just shy of the 1.5 million net subs AT&T added. Verizon Wireless ended the quarter with 62 million subscribers, up from 54.8 million a year earlier and second only to AT&T's 63.7 million subs. Verizon Wireless' revenue, however, topped AT&T at $10.8 billion, compared to $10.4 billion for AT&T. VZW also beat AT&T when it came to churn: VZW's 1.08 percent churn rate is much lower than AT&T's 1.6 percent. The carrier's ARPU rose 3 percent to $51.84.

Verizon also announced that it would acquire Rural Cellular (RCC) for $2.67 billion, a move that echoes AT&T's recent acquisition of Dobson Communications for $2.8 billion. RCC operates in the 850 MHz band and has been looking to sell its assets by this weekend, according to Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. Seidenberg said Verizon has been tracking the company for some time and believes the deal will make for a "meaningful expansion of our footprint as well as improve service for existing Verizon customers." Seidenberg also predicted that the deal will save the company more than $1 billion in synergies in reduced roaming and OPEX expenses. RCC's customer base is 716,000 and it operates in about 15 states.

Seidenberg noted that RCC "operates both GSM and CDMA networks. Our plan would be--just to make sure there is clarity about it--to build an overlay CDMA network to convert their existing customers to CDMA, but we will continue to operate the GSM network to service the needs of the GSM operators that roam on that network."

For more on the carrier's announcements:
- read this press release on its Q2
- and read this release about the RCC deal