AT&T Inc. said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Verizon Wireless to swap wireless assets, satisfying regulatory requirements from the company's acquisition of rural cellular telephone carrier Dobson Communications Corp. In mid-November the Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T's $2.8 billion purchase of Dobson but required one of the companies to divest assets in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Texas. Under the terms of the agreement, after Verizon's acquisition of Rural Cellular Corp., AT&T will acquire some former Rural Cellular properties. The properties include licenses, network assets and subscribers in the Burlington, Vt., area and in rural service areas in New York, Vermont and Washington. AT&T will also acquire a cellular license from Verizon in Kentucky. In addition, Verizon will acquire from AT&T some former Dobson properties, including licenses, network assets and subscribers, in some rural service areas in Kentucky.So, while these companies are fierce competitors in the retail market space, they are also business partners in other circumstances.
05 December 2007
It is not unusual for carriers to swap assets with each other for a variety of reasons. Sometimes swaps allow carriers to rebalance their regional portfolios to gain economies or to align their assets with their strategic objectives and other times it is to comply with regulatory requirements (there may be additional reasons as well). This news release (the quote below is from http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/12/04/ap4402372.html?partner=alerts in Forbes) is an example of the latter: