In order to gain regulatory approval for their acquisition of , Verizon agreed to divest markets in 22 states, which equates to over 2 million subscribers. The assets are valued at approximately $3 billion. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T may be the front runner to acquire those assets. We’re hoping such a deal won’t happen and here’s why. Allowing AT&T to gain those assets will prevent smaller wireless carriers from doing so, which ultimately harms the competitive wireless landscape. It’s just bad policy.

The former Alltel properties, including the entire states of North and South Dakota, are in primarily rural and small town America. Those markets, and more succinctly the territories in close proximity to those markets, are typically ‘underserved’ by wireless standards. Smaller carriers simply don’t have the scale to build robust wireless networks in these areas. The offers a rare opportunity for smaller wireless carriers – an ability to acquire scale (in relative terms) and valuable spectrum. Scale that they can then leverage to improve market position and build competitive ability. Allowing AT&T to purchase these markets equates to the status quo. There are smaller wireless carriers and even upstart consortiums of wireline carriers interested in the Alltel properties. We say give them a chance. The benefits of those smaller carriers getting more skin in the wireless game far outweigh AT&T simply adding an accretive (measly might be a better descriptor) 2.5% in new subscribers and associated spectrum.

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6 thoughts on “Allowing AT&T to Purchase Alltel Assets is a Mistake

  1. but on the plus side, att would bring the iphone to a lot of markets that lack it now, and probably wouldn’t get it for many years otherwise

  2. Att has the resources to upgrade the network to current standards. allowing att to acquire them gives the consumers a chance to be a part of a true national network, better than what verizon can provide, allowing the customers to travel without roaming charges. selling to a small carrier (whats left of them) allows the customer to pay more roaming charges and stay with outdated standards. More bars in more places

  3. unfortunately not allowing the sale of alltel to at&t will only drive customer to verizon and not the smaller carriers. Customer now want all the features available at the lowest cost, which only the larger companies can offer. Also some of the small companies can not even offer the services currently offered due to there small size and cost of some of these services

  4. this author's line of logic is EXACTLY why the U.S. is behind technologically in the cell arena. The comments above are spot on regarding the inability of the smaller carriers to serve a "roaming" nation. Try using your Alltel phone in Europe – NOPE, can't be done! Not to mention the iPhone as noted above. That's not competition, that's a technological disadvantage. Hey, how about we compete with our land lines – whoops, who has those anymore?

  5. To compete with Verizon, a company must have the ability to build a network, supply the phones customer want, other wise, all market share will go to VZW and THAT is bad business. Smaller companies cannot compete with a company the size of VZW in wireless.

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