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ATandT announces agreement to purchase Verizon assets

Sun Advocate reporter

Rural areas in the western United States have not traditionally been a major part of AT&T's wireless service.

While the service is provided by AT&T in and around Carbon County, it is not optimal, according to company representatives.

However, AT&T does not plan to remain on the sidelines in the rural wireless communications market.

On May 8, the company issued a news release announcing that AT&T had entered into "a definitive agreement to acquire wireless assets from Verizon wireless for $2.35 billion in cash."

The acquisition includes licenses, network assets and 1.5 million subscribers in 79 service areas, according to AT&T.

Most of the purchase represents Alltel assets, but does include Verizon Wireless as well the Former Rural Cellular Corporation.

What does the announcement mean for Carbon County residents? For now, probably not much.

"Verizon will continue to manage and service these customers because we are awaiting FCC approval in the fourth quarter of this year. And even then, Verizon will continue to manage them for a year," explained Ted Wagner, the AT&T spokesperson for Utah and New Mexico,

Verizon sold many of the assets in question because the company was forced to by the United States Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC issued the directive in order to bring more competition into the area.

"What we're buying is permits and assets where we currently don't have service," said Wagner.

The company spokesperson added that AT&T intends to spend an additional $400 million on the local network beyond the purchase price.

Aside from the assets and licenses, AT&T hopes the company will have access to a larger customer base through the deal with Verizon, according to Wagner.

Once the agreement is competed, Carbon County residents will have more choices in wireless services as well as become open to new devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry Bold, noted the company.

Wagner pointed out that he hopes consumers in the Carbon County area will be excited by the new devices they will have access to because AT&T is looking forward to the opportunity to serve customers in Utah.

AT&T will be communicate with customers on a regular basis as the transition approaches.

The press release indicated that the conversion will take no longer than 12 months because wireless is AT&T's greatest growth area.

The company hopes the acquisition will significantly increase AT&T's value in the telecommunications industry, concluded therecently issued press release.

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