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AT&T acquires Wireless One assets

AT&T hopes to fill a gap in its wireless area of coverage in Florida by acquiring the assets of Wireless One, which owns and operates wireless systems in northwest and southwest Florida.

    AT&T hopes to fill a gap in its wireless area of coverage in Florida by acquiring the assets of Wireless One for an undisclosed sum, the company announced today.

    The move attempts to shore up AT&T's wireless reach ahead of its planned issue of a tracking stock for its wireless division. The telecommunications giant plans to issue up to 19 percent of the unit in an initial public offering, possibly raising upward of $10 billion. AT&T wireless had about 12 million subscribers at the end of September, 1999.

    Wireless One owns and operates wireless systems in northwest and southwest Florida, serving about 177,000 cellular customers at the end of 1999. The company markets its services under the CellularOne trade name.

    The deal is expected to close in June and is subject to regulatory approval. The boards of AT&T and Wireless One have already approved the transaction.

    "This transaction is an important step in our strategic priority to complete our national wireless footprint, extend TDMA (time division multiple access) technology and provide our customers the highest quality service and features across the U.S.," said John Zeglis, chief executive of AT&T Wireless services group, in a statement.

    Shares of AT&T have traded as high as $63 and as low as $41.5 during the past 52 weeks.