AT&T said it expects that as it upgrades the network in the acquired areas, mobile Internet service will improve for both Alltel and AT&T customers. However, it will need to convert the cell towers from the "CDMA" technology Alltel uses to the "GSM" technology AT&T's network uses. That means Alltel subscribers will need new phones.
The deal remains subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice. The companies said they expect the deal to close in the second half of the year.
AT&T said it doesn't expect the cost of buying and integrating Alltel to significantly affect its earnings or cash flow.