AT&T (NYSE: T) on Friday received clearance from U.S. regulators for its purchase of airwaves and subscribers from Atlantic Tele-Network Inc.
The Federal Communications Commission in an order posted on its website approved the deal that it said will bring 620,000 new customers to AT&T, the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier.
Atlantic Tele-Network, based in Beverly, Massachusetts, operates under the Alltel brand in six states, mostly in the southern and midwestern U.S.
Alltel maintains some operations in North Carolina.
“We welcome Alltel customers to the AT&T family, and we think they will love everything they can do on our superfast 4G network,” said Laurent Therivel, AT&T’s vice president and general manager of Mobility and Consumer Markets in the Carolinas.
“We’ve invested nearly $1.8 billion in our wireless and wired networks in North Carolina since 2010, including more than $250 million in the first half of 2013. And we’ll continue to invest to bring fast mobile Internet service to more people across the state.”
Alltel has some 100,000 customers in North Carolina, according to AT&T.
Counties where Alltel provides services include: Alexander, Anson, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland.
Alltel also has some 80 employees in North Carolina.
Overall, Alltel’s network covers about 4.6 million people in mainly rural areas across six states – Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.
The deal includes the purchase of licenses, network assets and retail stores
AT&T, led by Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, has been snapping up airwaves in a bid to catch up with Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. carrier. Verizon won approval last year to buy airwave rights from Comcast Corp. and other cable customers for about $3.6 billion. Wireless carriers rely on spectrum to transmit phone calls and data to mobile devices.
AT&T says it doesn’t expect integration costs related to the acquisition to significantly affect its earnings or cash flow.