AT&T must explain how it plans to transition prepaid customers to its network for deal to move forward

As it nears the (informal) 180 day timeline for approving AT&T's purchase of Alltel, the FCC has put a pause on the review in order to get more information about how AT&T plans to transition all of Alltel's customers to its network. If you'll recall back to January, AT&T purchased spectrum assets and 585,000 customers when it acquired the rest of Alltel for $780 million. At the time it seemed like a slam dunk purchase for AT&T, but now the FCC is worried that AT&T doesn't have an appropriate plan for Alltel's over 180,000 prepaid customers.

AT&T has offered an acceptable plan to bring Alltel's postpaid customers over to its network, but the FCC sees the prepaid customers as an important segment of the customer base that shouldn't be left disenfranchised when the deal completes. Jim Cicconi, Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs at AT&T, had this to say:

“AT&T is extremely disappointed at the FCC delay today on this small transaction.  AT&T is ready, willing and able to make significant network investments in these rural territories to bring HSPA+ and LTE services to Allied’s customers, an investment that will not occur but for this transaction.  AT&T has actively worked to address FCC concerns and will continue to work with the Commission until all issues are resolved.”

We have no doubt that AT&T will do whatever it needs to in order to get these spectrum holdings into its hands once and for all. But after seeing Verizon be forced to divest some of its holdings when it acquired most of Alltel previously, the process may not be as easy as it expected.

Source: FCC, AT&T; Via: PhoneScoop


Reader comments

FCC puts AT&T acquisition of Alltel on pause, awaiting prepaid customer transition roadmap


The answer is this.

Hey FCC, they are going to be transitioned to the Go Phone Plans. kthxbyebye

They had to leave them be in some parts so they were not the monopoly think it ended up being a bigger mess then they planned for.

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Wow... AT&T can't even properly name the company they are acquiring in a press release... Awesome.

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Whenever most of Alltel was acquired a few years ago, I believe the carrier was left with the same name, but the parent of Alltel changed its name to Allied.

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No, Allied Wireless Communications Corporation (AWCC) was the company that bought the Verizon-divested Alltel markets that AT&T wouldn't pick up at the time. Coincidence is all.

No, Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc (ATNI) was the company that bought the Alltel markets then formed a wireless subsidiary called AWCC. ATNI/AWCC leased the Alltel brand name from Verizon so that they could continue to do business as Alltel.

Though to be fair, I only know that because I work at AWCC.

Of course FCC is going to start looking into every AT&T acquisition after they've flat out lied that they won't be able to deploy LTE to 90% of Americans without T-Mobile acquisition...
And that Ciccone guy is AT&T's shameless poster boy for all those lies.

Don't forget that the government aid there would be job loss if the att bought tmo... Oh wait tmo did have to cut jobs. Yay less jobs

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Unless im overlooking something this looks like a pretty easy fix! Offer them the gophone 60.00 smartphone plan. I took a glance at alltels website and there prepaid starts at 45.00 for just talk & text with data starting at 15.00 extra for just 250 mb's and 2 gb which is what you would get with ATT is 25.00 extra. So again whats the major prob?? Offer them gophone! Same Att nationwide network as postpaid gets. Which is great. I have it & am satisfied using an unlocked Tmobile phone right now. Unless the Alltel customer only wants talk & text, Well At&t GoPhone plan is only 5.00 more. Again I think there are more serious issues.. If they really make a stink they could just match the price.

If Alltel was a GSM network this would be a great solution, but with their phones CDMA, that will mean throwing out existing hardware and buying a new prepaid/un-subsidized GSM phone. I'm guessing that is what the FCC is complaining about they probably want AT&T to buy these guys new phones.