AT&T Wireless to Trade Licenses

REDMOND, Wash. - AT&T Wireless has agreed to pay $30.75 million in cash and assign some of its wireless licenses to Chicago-based U.S. Cellular Corp. in a deal covering 15 states, the companies said Monday. In return, AT&T Wireless will receive licenses, cell towers and other network assets in northern Florida and southern Georgia, said Mike DiGioia, an AT&T Wireless spokesman. The Redmond-based wireless carrier will also gain U.S. Cellular's 141,000 customers in the area, he said.

Besides the cash payment, U.S. Cellular will receive licenses in 13 states to operate in a portion of spectrum that AT&T Wireless is not using. AT&T Wireless has adequate capacity to cover its customer base in those regions, DiGioia said, and did not need the extra spectrum allowances it is signing over to U.S. Cellular. AT&T Wireless customers will not be affected, he said.

The states are Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The deal lets US Cellular fill in some of the gaps in its coverage, said Jay Ellison, U.S Cellular's executive vice president of operations. The deal still requires approval by the Federal Communications Commission and is expected to close in the second half of the year, the companies said.

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