PhotoAT&T is buying Alltel's wireless operations for $780 million in cash, saying the deal will improve its coverage in rural areas.

Under terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 585,000 subscribers from Alltel's parent company, Atlantic Tele-Network.

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.

AT&T Wireless Jan. 22, 2013, 6:47 p.m.
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Federal regulators are expected to review and approve the deal, the companies said Tuesday. The companies predict the deal will close in the second half of the year.

AT&T said the deal includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing network. ATNI currently operates a retail CDMA network for its subscribers in these areas. AT&T said the acquisition means that Alltel customers and AT&T customers who roam in these areas will "enjoy an enhanced mobile Internet experience."

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