AT&T plans to acquire Dobson for $2.8 bln


AT&T Inc. is set to acquire Dobson Communications Corporation, a provider of rural and suburban wireless communications services for about $2.8 billion in cash. The acquisition is expected to improve AT&T's wireless network coverage in the United States by uniting the two companies' complementary networks.

Oklahoma City-based Dobson (Nasdaq: DCEL), which markets wireless service under the Cellular One brand, has provided roaming service to AT&T and predecessor companies since 1990.

Dobson has 1.7 million subscribers, mostly in rural and suburban areas across 17 states, including Missouri, according to AT&T spokeswoman Chelsey Ilten.

"AT&T is focused on mobility, which includes offering our customers in markets large and small the best and broadest wireless network," said Randall L. Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T. "The rural market is attractive to us, and the addition of Dobson to our wireless family will expand our network coverage and better allow the customers of both companies to be connected whenever, wherever and however they want.
Following the acquisition, Dobson will be incorporated into AT&T's wireless operations, which are led by Stan Sigman, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

San Antonio, Texas-based AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) provides local and long-distance telephone and Internet service in Missouri and Illinois.