BEDMINSTER, NJ — In its ongoing effort to aggressively build out its nationwide network, Verizon Wireless announced today that it would expand its operations in California, Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee as a result of acquiring certain Dobson Communications Corporation wireless operations for approximately $465 million.
The Dobson Wireless properties - serving a total population (POPS) of approximately 950,000 - add to the 90 percent of the population that Verizon Wireless is already licensed to cover.
The four markets are adjacent to current Verizon Wireless operations and have seen heavy wireless "roaming" usage by Verizon Wireless customers traveling through Dobson's coverage area.
Verizon Wireless said it acquired the Dobson operations to improve satisfaction of customers using the local network and reduce its overall operating costs by eliminating the need to pay roaming fees to another carrier. The company will begin converting the Dobson operations using TDMA [time division multiple access] network infrastructure to its preferred, CDMA [code division multiple access] network platform in place throughout the rest of the country.
The Verizon Wireless network is the largest of any U.S. carrier, covering more than 221 million people. The company has invested more than $8 billion in the network nationwide over the past two years, converting to the digital CDMA standard.
Verizon Wireless acquired all of the Dobson operations, including network facilities, certain retail stores, customer service operations and about 125 employees. The markets, which currently operate under the Cellular One and Alex Wireless brand names, will immediately begin converting to the Verizon Wireless brand.
The following wireless properties are involved in the transaction:
- California Rural Service Area (RSA) #7, located in Imperial County, serves Brawley, Calexico, Calipatria and Imperial. The business, operating under the Alex Wireless brand, is adjacent to Verizon Wireless operations in San Diego and Los Angeles, CA. POPS served by the license total approximately 147,000.
- Georgia RSA #1 includes eight counties in Northern Georgia: Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens, Towns, Union and Whitfield. The business operates under the Cellular One brand today and lies adjacent to Verizon Wireless operations in Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN. POPS served by the license total approximately 250,000.
- Ohio RSA #2 includes four counties in northern Ohio: Erie, Huron, Sandusky and Seneca. The business, operating under the Cellular One brand today, lies adjacent to Verizon Wireless operations in Toledo and Lorain-Elyria, OH. POPS served by the license total approximately 260,000.
- Tennessee RSA #4 includes six counties in Eastern Tennessee: Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Jefferson and Sevier. The operation, adjacent to Verizon Wireless operations in Knoxville and Kingsport, TN and Asheville, NC, markets today under the Cellular One brand. POPS served by the business total some 290,000. This market is the property of a joint venture that is equally owned by Dobson and AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE).
On Nov. 1, 2001 Verizon Wireless and Dobson announced they had reached agreement on the sale of Dobson assets in five markets. The fifth Dobson market, Arizona RSA #5, is expected to close later this month. Arizona RSA #5, serves Gila and Pinal counties, AZ. The business operates under the Cellular One brand and is adjacent to Verizon Wireless operations in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ. POPS served by the license total about 200,000. Verizon Wireless is purchasing Dobson's 75 percent ownership interest in the market.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the leading wireless communications provider in the U.S., with the largest wireless network and more than 29.4 million customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.