AT&T acquires Alltel

AT&T announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Alltel for $780 million. The purchase includes all of Alltel’s assets, retail stores, licenses and spectrum, as well as its 585,000 subscribers.

The move should help AT&T build out its network, particularly in rural areas. Alltel’s business is mostly in rural areas of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.

The spectrum in the deal, AT&T said, is “largely complementary” to the company’s current holdings. The company will have to convert some of Alltel’s network from a different standard to work with its own — AT&T said that it those costs will “not result in significant dilution” of its earnings or cash flow.

The Federal Communications Commission will have to approve the deal. The companies project the deal will close in the second half of this year.

AT&T has been looking to build out its spectrum portfolio through a series of smaller acquisitions after failing in its 2011 bid for T-Mobile. The company has been particularly focused on expanding its portfolio to build out its 4G LTE network.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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