BellSouth, moving to raise cash for the pending acquisition of AT&T Wireless, is selling its 10 Latin American wireless operations.

BellSouth announced the agreement this morning with Telefonica of Spain.

The deal is worth $5.8 billion. In a statement, BellSouth said it would net $4.2 billion after taxes. Some $1.5 billion will be used to reduce debt, the company said.

BellSouth and SBC Communications jointly own Cingular Wireless, which will absorb AT&T Wireless in a deal with more than $30 billion.

“The sale of our Latin American operations enables us to continue to strengthen our domestic businesses,” said Duane Ackerman, chairman and chief executive officer of BellSouth, in a statement. “This transaction improves our flexibility as we focus on our growth opportunities.”

BellSouth has operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela with more than 10.5 million customers.

The deal is expected to close after June 30.

BellSouth: www.bellsouth.com