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AT&T said Friday it will buy the assets of Verizon Wireless in 79 mainly rural areas for $2.35 billion, a deal that will affect more than 1 million subscribers. AT&T is getting spectrum licenses, cell towers and 1.5 million subscribers in the deal, says the AP. Since AT&T phones aren’t compatible with Alltel or Verizon phones, these subscribers will need new phones to use AT&T’s network.

AT&T said the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

AT&T also said it had agreed to sell five Centennial Communications service areas in Louisiana and Mississippi to Verizon Wireless for $240 million.

Verizon Wireless was forced to sell the service areas, which are spread over 18 states, to satisfy regulatory conditions of its purchase of Alltel. The areas are mainly Alltel territories that overlap with Verizon’s own coverage, but also some Verizon territories and areas covered by Rural Cellular, another carrier Verizon bought last year.

The states with areas included in the deal are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

AT&T announced plans to acquire Centennial in November 2008. That deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

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