AT&T buys Alltel for $780 million, gains spectrum and 585,000 customers

AT&T has announced today that it will completely acquire the Alltel brand and assets from Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. for $780 million in cash. This purchase encompasses all of the Alltel assets, from spectrum, network licenses and wireless properties to retail store locations and about 585,000 subscribers. That's a good number of customers that will come under the AT&T umbrella, but what's likely more valuable is the spectrum holdings that AT&T will gain.

Alltel currently operates mostly in rural areas of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina -- covering about 4.6 million people. Spectrum gains in these areas are in the 700, 850 and 1900MHz bands, which compliments AT&T's network deployment nicely. It's a cheap, all cash acquisition that will help AT&T continue its LTE rollout into the future.

Source: AT&T (opens in new tab)

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Didn't Verizon buy out Alltel a couple of years ago?
  • Verizon bought 80% of it. Left the other 20% for competition. And to suffer, thanks fcc
  • I understood that the Verizon purchase fell through due to FCC rules.
  • No they were allowed to purchase the bulk of the company and required to divest the rest.
  • Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home) Happy New Year!
  • AT&T had originally picked up a good portion of the remaining 20%. Alltel in our area became AT&T a couple years ago. Apparently they hadn't taken all of it. This is the last remnants I guess.
  • This is an one now happy Alltel customer. Was waiting for my contract to run out to switch to Verizon. Ever since Verizon took most of the company the rest of us that were not brought in have suffered with poor signal, dropped calls and text messages not going through. Hope things get better now when this goes through.
  • Well, AT&T.. don't hold your breath.
  • They did yes but the FCC would only allow them to keep part of it due to the fact that it would have given them a monopoly or at least the appearance of one so they were required to divest these markets in order to gain FCC approval. The divested markets were to continue cooperation under the Altell name until a separate buyer could be found. Supposedly AT&T bought it like 6 months later so I'm not sure what this unless its taken all this time to do the paperwork
  • This wasn't as cheap as it sounds.
    Since it was mostly a CDMA network, AT&T now has to replace just about all the Tower Gear to get it to GSM/4G/LTE. Quoting the Washington post: "AT&T said it expects that as it upgrades the network in the acquired areas, mobile Internet service will improve for both Alltel and AT&T customers. However, it will need to convert the cell towers from the “CDMA” technology Alltel uses to the “GSM” technology AT&T’s network uses. That means Alltel subscribers will need new phones."
  • This was exactly what I was thinking.
  • Yeah but it must not cost AT&T that much to convert the CDMA towers to GSM or else they wouldn't of bought them?
  • Both At@t and Verizon are useless period.
  • .
  • And yet there's at least 200 million people across the entire US who use their services every single day. Compared to the (at best) 40 million people on T-Mobile in the US, you've clearly got things backwards. You don't know when to shut up, do you?
  • People bitch and moan about AT&T all the time. I have had them for like 6 years and havent had a single issue. I can't tell you the last time I dropped a call, maybe once in the 6 years. I can't tell you the last time I had no signal, and I travel. They got 4GLTE quick where I live. And any time I have had to call they have been helpful. I have heard some horror stories, but sometimes I think people just like to bitch... and moan.
  • I'm on Sprint people trash them all the time im happy with them I was able to stream the Falcons 49ers game Sunday on the beach in H.B CA with no lag over 3g with slingbox over 3 hrs and still had 49% battery left Galaxy Note 2. Just comes down to were you live I guess I need unlimited so Sprint is my only choice Metro pcs not enough coverage or good enough phones to use same with t mobile there 4g was slower then Sprints 3g were i live. Choice is good no reason to bash if it doesn't work for u find a carrier that does
  • I'm in the same boat as you. I had AT&T from back in the Cingular days and jumped to Verizon to get the GNex. I ended up paying the termination fee to go back to AT&T, regardless of LTE footprint.
  • I completely agree! I'm a satisfied customer of AT&T for 12 years (or cingular back then) LTE here is great, I see speeds of 50+Mbit/s all day long in my city! Speeds suck in the 5MHz cities (hint: Miami)
  • I had an AT&T cell phone for 4 years. it gave me no trouble until I started using it as my every day phone. i experienced many failed calls. i did not experience very many dropped calls. The Failed calls did me in. I had to have reliable connections. I switched to Verizon and have had them for over two years now without any failed calls or dropped calls. Verizon is most definitely the best provider in my area. I have nothing against ATT . Verizon just happens to be the best in my area.
  • .--. . .-. .. --- -..
  • and Tmobile Has more than 40 Million They Have About 270 Million Or more
  • Uh what? T-Mobile has around 33 million
  • There is over 300 million in the US, how would T-mo have 270? maybe its 27 million you are thinking. Verizon is the largest with 80-90 million people on it's network, so no way T-mo has more
  • Tmobile claims they have coverage were 270 million people live not that they are customers its all over there ads
  • T-MOBILE has about 270 million customers worldwide. You know they own most of the European cell market and all.
  • Why? Because they make money? Oh, the humanity of such a concept...a business making profit.
  • I for one was happy when I read this!!
  • The number of poops I give about this is most certainly less than 2. :-P
  • Kill the green dot.