Verizon Wireless said Thursday that it has closed a $465 million deal to buy the wireless operations of Dobson Communications in California, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2002 and the companies are still negotiating for the sale of part of Dobson's wireless territory in Arizona. The deal involves the purchase of all Dobson operations in the targeted markets, which serve about 950,000 people, and includes network facilities, certain retail stores, customer service operations and about 125 employees. Also included in the deal is the $202 million Verizon paid for Dobson's Tennessee properties, which are equally owned with AT&T wireless.
Verizon describes the newly purchased areas as nearly encircled by its own wireless networks and says it will upgrade the Dobson properties from TDMA (time division multiple access) wireless technology to the CDMA (code division multiple access) standard of its own networks. Verizon plans to spend about $4 billion on technology upgrades for its U.S. wireless networks in 2001.