Verizon Wireless announces a deal to buy out one of the nations largest rural cellular providers

Verizon Wireless announced on Monday that it will acquire Rural Cellular Corp., one of the nation’s largest rural carriers, for $2.67 billion in cash.   The agreement will extend Verizon Wireless' current customer base of 62.1 million by 700,000.  The acquisition will also expand Verizon's network coverage by 4.7 million POPs (population). 

Rural Cellular Corp uses CDMA and GSM technology separately across the markets.  Verizon Wireless has said that it will keep RCC's existing GSM networks for customers roaming needs and will begin CDMA service in RCC's current GSM markets.  Also Verizon Wireless will convert GSM customers to CDMA service.

“Verizon Wireless continually looks for opportunities to enhance our customers’ wireless experience,” said Lowell McAdam, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. “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.”

The acquisition will allow Verizon Wireless to extend its service into certain parts of the East Coast, the South, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The deal is expected to close during the first half of 2008 at $45 per share.

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