The Florida operations comprise cell phone networks and retail outlets in major markets including Tallahassee and Gainesville, said AT&T Wireless representative Mike DiGioia.
The surplus spectrum--radio frequencies over which cell phone calls travel--is in midwest and northeast states.
Such deals are a common way for carriers to enter new markets. Keith Waryas, an analyst with IDC, expects the pace of such cash and spectrum swaps to quicken in 2003 as the nation's top six carriers continue fighting for market share.
is the nation's second-largest carrier, with 22.8 million subscribers. The nation's largest wireless carrier is , which has 32.5 million customers. U.S. Cellular, based in Chicago, is the nation's eight-largest carrier, with 4.1 million customers.
The deal affects about 141,000 U.S. Cellular customers. Sometime this summer, when terms are finalized, U.S. Cellular customers in the two southern states can become AT&T Wireless subscribers or choose another carrier, DiGioia said.