Atlantic Tele-Network announced today that they are selling their Alltel wireless network and customers to AT&T. We had hoped this day would not come, but if it did, the sale would be to a smaller company. The new Alltel had a number of advantages and customers were lucky to still have them as a choice in their six-state service area. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.
The biggest disappointment is that Alltel was allowed to survive just to keep Verizon from being too dominant from its purchase of the old Alltel network. Instead, AT&T will become that much more dominant in rural areas of the US. Atlantic Tele-Network make a good effort to make Alltel a viable competitor, but with declining subscriber numbers, a sale looked inevitable. We had hoped that it would have been to anybody but the Top 4. After AT&T's failed purchse of T-Mobile, this purchase seems like chump change. A quick glance at Alltel vs. AT&T coverage shows there's little reason for the FCC or DOJ to object to the purchase. If any spinoffs are required, who could buy them? Verizon? We will have come full circle. Hopefully, they could keep a few of the sites in the Comnnet Wireless family, if they survive.
Alltel was still one of the Top 10 carriers in the US and their fate may be shared with some of the other lower-top 10 companies like Cincinnati Bell, C Spire and even US Cellular. Sadly, these 3 carriers also happen to dominate the top of our Mountain Wireless Ratings. We do not dislike AT&T, we just don't like losing customer choice. As our US networks get bigger, our wireless experience gets worse. But hey, you get a new phone!