PHOENIX, AZ — Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless provider, today announced it has acquired Dobson Communications' controlling interest in a wireless system operating in the Arizona #5 Rural Service Area (RSA) for approximately $85 million, in a major expansion of its service footprint serving southern Arizona east of Phoenix and north of Tucson.
Verizon Wireless purchased a 75 percent partnership interest in the Gila River Cellular General Partnership from Dobson Cellular Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dobson Communications Corporation. The remaining 25 percent partnership interest is held by Gila River Telecommunications.
The Arizona closing follows a larger recent transaction involving the acquisition of Dobson operations in Ohio, Georgia, California and Tennessee for approximately $465 million.
"This latest acquisition is great news for our customers in Arizona," noted Ralph Martinez, Verizon Wireless president - Desert Mountain region. "The wireless system that we now control is virtually surrounded by our current operations and serves as a major roaming territory for customers traveling across the southern portions of the state. Now that we control the business, we'll be making the necessary network investments to improve service levels for customers moving between Phoenix and Tucson."
The system serves a territory with a total population (POPS) of approximately 200,000. Major highways in the footprint include Interstates 10 and 8, connecting Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma.
The business today operates under the Cellular One brand, which will be converted to the Verizon Wireless brand as the operation is integrated into Verizon Wireless' Desert Mountain region, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. Customers will notice a new look to their bills beginning in April.
The company will move quickly to convert the operations that use TDMA [time division multiple access] to its preferred, CDMA [code division multiple access] network platform, which is in place throughout the rest of the country. Gila and Pinal County customers can look forward to enhanced call quality, more service features, and a larger calling area footprint by early May.
The Verizon Wireless network is the most expansive in the country. It covers more than 221 million people and nearly 90 per cent of the U.S. population. The company has invested more than $8 billion in the network nationwide over the past two years.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications and Internet services. The company has the largest nationwide wireless network and 29 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Reporters and editors can find more information on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.