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Verizon Wireless Acquires Rural Cellular

Verizon Wireless Acquires Rural Cellular
By LongDistanceUS.com on Monday, July 30 2007

Verizon Wireless announced a $2.67 billion deal to acquire Rural Cellular Corp., one of the nation’s largest rural carriers. The agreement will add RCC’s 700,000 customers to Verizon Wireless’ base—which currently stands at 62.1 million—and will expand the No. 2 operator’s coverage in parts of the East Coast and the South, as well as in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The transaction also continues a powerful consolidation trend among the nation’s wireless carriers. Over the past several years the number of regional wireless carriers has continued to shrink as nationwide players have dipped into rural markets to expand coverage and customers bases. Indeed, AT&T Inc. just last month announced a plan to buy Dobson Communications Corp. for $2.8 billion.

RCC uses both CDMA and GSM technology separately across its markets. Verizon Wireless said it will deploy CDMA service in Rural Cellular's existing GSM markets and convert the GSM customers to CDMA service. Interestingly, though, Verizon Wireless said it will maintain RCC’s existing GSM networks to continue serving the roaming needs of other GSM carriers’ customers.

“Verizon Wireless continually looks for opportunities to enhance our customers’ wireless experience,” said Lowell McAdam, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. McAdam recently took over Verizon Wireless from CEO Denny Strigl, who moved into a leadership position at Verizon Wireless’ parent company Verizon Communications Inc. Verizon Wireless’ acquisition of Rural Cellular is McAdam’s first major financial transaction.

“The addition of Rural Cellular’s markets will enable us to expand our services into areas where previously we had little or no presence, and will give Rural Cellular’s Unicel customers access to the nation’s most reliable network and a broader range of voice and data services,” McAdam said.

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