Mobile

AT&T adds 1.3 million wireless customers with buys

The telecommunications giant says it will spend $3.3 billion to buy wireless systems from Vodafone AirTouch, GTE and PrimeCo, giving it footholds in San Francisco, San Diego and Houston.

AT&T said today it will spend $3.3 billion to buy wireless systems from Vodafone AirTouch, GTE and PrimeCo PCS.

The deals give AT&T new wireless customers in the San Francisco, San Diego and Houston markets.

The deals are expected to help pave the way toward combining GTE's wireless assets into Verizon Wireless, the company created by the merger of Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch's wireless businesses.

AT&T said the move adds 1.3 million customers to the telephone giant's wireless customer base and establishes a foothold in the last three cities in the top 15 U.S. service markets that do not have AT&T wireless services.

In San Francisco, AT&T is buying the remaining interest in a wireless partnership from Vodafone AirTouch. In San Diego, it is buying 100 percent of GTE's wireless operations, while in Houston, it is buying the system owned by PrimeCo.

AT&T Wireless expects about 1,400 employees will join the company as a result of the transaction.