Skip to main content

AT&T to buy remaining Alltel assets for $780 million

Image used with permission by copyright holder

AT&T has announced its intention to acquire the remaining assets of wireless carrier Alltel for $780 million from Atlantic Tele-Networks. The deal, all in all, includes Alltel’s markets, equipment, retail stores, and licensing along with 585,000 customers.

Four years ago, Verizon Wireless acquired the bulk of Alltel in a massive purchase totaling more than $28 billion, however FCC anti-trust regulations forced Verizon to leave behind 105 markets of Alltel on the open market. AT&T took the opportunity to initially purchase 79 of the 105 markets available in 2009, leaving the remaining 26 to Atlantic Tele-Networks. Today AT&T has decided to eat up the remaining chunk of Alltel, buying mostly rural regions, where it hopes the acquisition of wireless sites and spectrum will improve service for both Alltel and AT&T customers. 

While the rather small Alltel acquisition only inches AT&T’s number of subscribers, it still closes the distance between it and Verizon, the number one carrier in the United States. The initial acquisition of Alltel in 2008 was the move that swept Big Red into the number-one seat, ousting AT&T, and leaving the carrier to play catch up ever since. While AT&T was the largest carrier momentarily in early 2011, it fell behind Verizon again and has remained in second place ever since.

AT&T has not yet stated when it expects to close the deal on the sale, and the acquisition still requires the blessing of both the FCC and the Department of Justice. AT&T’s last attempted acquisition, the botched buyout of T-Mobile in 2011, was shot down by the FCC and there’s no telling how the agency will rule on this case. Despite this, AT&T remains dead-set on continuing its efforts to acquire and merge with other carriers, going as far as Europe to scout for opportunities. The efforts of AT&T’s attempts to grow through acquisition will likely continue. 

Update by Jeffrey VC: I’ve fixed a typo. Alltel will be purchased for $780 million, not $708 million.

Editors' Recommendations

Joshua Sherman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joshua Sherman is a contributor for Digital Trends who writes about all things mobile from Apple to Zynga. Josh pulls his…
T-Mobile’s newest plans are exciting for new (and old) customers
The T-Mobile logo on a smartphone.

T-Mobile has just unveiled a new set of plans and perks to help both new and current customers break free of lengthy device contracts while guaranteeing you'll be able to get the best deals available on phone upgrades every two years.

Significantly, with the new plans, the "Un-carrier" promises equal treatment for all customers, whether they're coming over from another carrier or have been using T-Mobile's services for years. That's in contrast to the limited-time offers of its rivals, which often ignore their most loyal subscribers in an effort to entice others to switch carriers.

Read more
T-Mobile’s 5G is still unmatched — but have speeds plateaued?
Woman holding up smartphone with speed test results on Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network.

Each time a new analysis of mobile network performance gets published, it’s almost a given that we’ll see T-Mobile leading the pack in terms of delivering the fastest 5G speeds. After all, the “Un-carrier” had a massive lead in deploying its 5G networks — and it hasn’t been resting on its laurels.

However, its competitors haven’t been sitting still either. While Verizon may have been starting from behind, it’s been aggressively deploying the faster 5G spectrum that gave it a nice leap in 5G performance last year. Still, Verizon and AT&T are lagging quite a bit in overall mobile network performance, and AT&T has fallen even farther behind when it comes to delivering the best 5G speeds across the nation.

Read more
How to unlock a Samsung phone on any carrier
Man using an S Pen with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Bought a new Samsung device and want to use it with a different carrier? Here's the good news: You can unlock your phone to use it with the carrier of your choice.

Whether you want to switch carriers because you're dissatisfied with the current provider or just to try out new options, here are some easy steps you can follow to unlock any Samsung phone.

Read more