COLUMBIA, S.C., Sept. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* today announced that it has closed its acquisition of Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc.'s U.S. retail wireless assets operated under the Alltel brand. AT&T acquired wireless properties in six states, including spectrum licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 590,000 subscribers. The Alltel network covers approximately 4.5 million people in mainly rural areas in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.
AT&T will immediately begin upgrading the former Alltel network to 4G and plans to move customers to the AT&T network by midyear 2014. Former Alltel subscribers will have access to a wireless network that combines Alltel's local coverage with AT&T's nationwide 4G coverage and to mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than what they have today. AT&T plans to roll out 4G LTE in the former Alltel service area on a market-by-market basis and expects 4G LTE will be widely available in those areas by late 2014. Today, AT&T's 4G LTE network is the nation's fastest and now most reliable and covers more than 225 million people in 397 markets.1 AT&T expects its 4G LTE network to reach 300 million people by the end of 2014.
"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 $950 million in our wireless and wired networks in South Carolina since 2010, including nearly $140 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."
In South Carolina, about 155,000 Alltel customers in the following counties will join AT&T: Abbeville, Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Saluda and Union. The acquisition of Alltel in South Carolina also includes about 110 employees.
Alltel customers choosing 4G LTE devices with an AT&T rate plan will experience the great performance of AT&T's 4G LTE network, which continues to be validated by independent third-party testing:
Our 4G LTE service was recognized as having faster average download and upload speeds than any of our competitors in PCWorld/TechHive's most recent 20-market speed tests — the second consecutive year that AT&T has ranked first overall. PCWorld/TechHive also ranked AT&T's as the fastest combination of 3G and 4G services in the 20 cities it tested.2
Following network upgrades, Alltel will be rebranded as AT&T. Prior to the network transition, AT&T will provide Alltel contract subscribers the option to select a new free phone comparable to what they currently use. The vast majority of Alltel contract customers receiving a free comparable phone will be offered a rate plan and selection of features comparable to or better than what they have today.4 Prepaid, also called no contract, customers will receive special offers for phones and rate plans when they transition to AT&T.
All customers will also have an option to upgrade, choosing from the industry's best wireless device selection and current AT&T rate plans.5 AT&T offers popular Mobile Share plans, which let customers share a bucket of data — from 300 MB to 50 GB — with up to 10 devices on a single plan and unlimited calls and texts.
Alltel customers joining AT&T will be able to stay connected to the people, places and information that matter the most when they travel the globe. AT&T offers voice service in more than 225 countries and data roaming in more than 210 countries — including 3G service in more than 175 countries — plus coverage on more than 250 cruise ships.
For now, Alltel customers will continue to use their Alltel phones and won't see any changes to rate plans, network coverage, customer service contracts or processes for making monthly bill payments. Alltel customers will need an AT&T phone when their service transitions to the AT&T network and will be able to keep their phone numbers. Before completing network upgrades and transitioning customers to AT&T, we'll let Alltel contract customers know how to get new free comparable phones — or purchase an upgraded phone — and how to activate those phones on the AT&T network. In early 2014, Alltel customers should look for more information on the transition to AT&T. To be sure they receive updates, Alltel customers should verify their billing and email addresses are up to date by going to www.alltel.com/myaccount. We'll work hard to make the transition as easy and convenient as possible. And if customers have questions, they can always visit www.att.com/Alltel for more information.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. 1Speed claim based on comparison of U.S. national carriers' avg 4G LTE download speeds for Android™ and Windows smartphones and iPhone 5. Reliability claim based on data transfer completion rates on nationwide 4G LTE networks. 4G LTE not available everywhere. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. 2PCWorld/TechHive, May 23, 2013, "AT&T clocks best overall speeds with 3G/4G combo" 3PC Magazine, June 17, 2013; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420333,00.asp 4Contract customers are customers who signed a two-year service agreement when they purchased or upgraded their current phones. Customers who have completed their two-year service commitment are considered contract customers. Free comparable phones provided at no additional cost available to contract customers. 5 Device upgrades require a new two-year commitment, and customers upgrading their devices must pay current AT&T prices for the device.
About AT&T AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV service with the AT&T U-verse® brand. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.
Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.