Telecommunications carrier Alltel announced Wednesday that it will purchase 596,000 phone lines in Kentucky from Verizon for $1.91 billion in cash. Little Rock, Ark.-based Alltel expects the transaction to close in the second half of 2002 once it gains federal and state regulatory approval. Alltel will gain 950 Verizon employees and expects that the deal will add to the company's earnings during the first full year of operation. The company currently serves about 40,000 customers in the Kentucky area and says the Verizon deal will increase the number of local lines by 25 percent to more than 3 million.
But Alltel is not the only rural telecommunications carrier with expansion plans. CenturyTel bought 675,000 phone lines in Alabama and Missouri last week from Verizon for $2.16 billion, a deal that is scheduled to close in the second half of 2002.