FCC slams brakes on AT&T, ATNI deal at 11th hour

28 Aug 2013

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reportedly halted its review of AT&T Mobility’s USD780 million takeover of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc.’s (ATNI’s) Alltell Wireless assets, 175 days into its 180-day review. Wireless Week reports that the US watchdog has opted to delay the transaction because AT&T has not provided sufficient details on how it plans to transition Alltel’s pre-paid customers following the completion of the merger.

In a statement, Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, commented: ‘AT&T is extremely disappointed at the FCC delay today on this small transaction. AT&T is ready, willing and able to make significant network investments in these rural territories to bring HSPA+ and LTE services to Allied’s customers, an investment that will not occur but for this transaction. AT&T has actively worked to address FCC concerns and will continue to work with the Commission until all issues are resolved’.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Alltel or Allied Wireless Communications Corporation (AWCC) to give it its full name, was formed in connection with ATNI’s agreement to purchase wireless properties, licences and network assets from Verizon Wireless in early 2010; the larger company was required by the FCC to sell its assets in these coverage areas after agreeing to acquire the majority of Alltel Wireless in June 2008, in a deal valued at USD28.1 billion. If and when AT&T’s deal is finalised, it will mean that the final piece of the former Alltel Wireless has now been absorbed into a Tier 1 carrier.