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AlltelAT&T to take over Alltel in area in 2010.

Just in time for Christmas 2010, Verizon Wireless service in Pratt, surrounding counties and most of western Kansas will be switching to AT&T.

A definitive agreement was reached May 8 for AT&T to purchase Verizon Wireless assets for $2.35 billion in cash.

The transaction is not finalized and will have to have regulatory approval before the purchase is complete, said Kerry Hibbs, AT&T spokesman.

The final approval and acquisition should be complete by the end of 2009 with the conversion to AT&T service expected to take until the end of 2010, Hibbs said.

Verizon purchased Alltel earlier this year. The AT&T purchase will affect 1.5 million Alltel customers in 79 service areas across 18 states including practically the entire western half of Kansas including Pratt, Barber, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa and Stafford Counties.
“This will have a big impact on western Kansas,” Hibbs said.

It is unknown at this time the order counties and towns will switch over to AT&T service.

As part of Verizon/Alltel purchase agreement Verizon is required to sell 79 Alltel services areas to meet regulatory approvals.

AT&T won the bid for those markets and once the purchase is approved will make a change over in service that is not expected to take more than 12 months, Hibbs said.

The change over is expected to require a capital investment of $400 million.

It is too early to determine what impact, if any, the change over will have on customer’s bills but AT&T has a wide variety of service plans, Hibbs said.

When the AT&T system is in place the new customers, mostly rural, will have access to the “world’s fastest 3G network” for smartphones, including iPhones, free Wi-Fi service at over 100,000 hotspots, retail stores, hotels, airports and other locations around the planet and be able to take advantage of AT&T rollover minutes, Hibbs said.

Customers don’t need to run out and pick up an iPhone just yet but subscribers will be able to enjoy largest 3G network in the nation. The worldwide network features high-speed data transmission for sending pictures, graphics and data.

It will be some time before customers have any decisions to make. When the time comes they will be notified.

“As we get closer to something actually happening, Alltel customers will get notification from AT&T,” Hibbs said. “The change over will be seamless for customers. There’s nothing the consumer has to do or worry about.”

The states affected by the acquisition are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

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