AT&T agreed to pay Atlantic Tele-Network -- which operates as Alltel -- $780 million in cash for wireless operations that cover 585,000 mostly rural-based subscribers, as well as spectrum and retail outlets across its six-state region. Alltel is selling licenses in the 700, 850 and 1900 MHz ranges -- spectrum that is compatible with AT&T's network. Atlantic acquired the operations from Verizon Wireless in 2010 for $223 million. "The dispersed, ­all-rural, multistate geography of the Alltel customer base and network has become increasingly challenging to operate in this era of rapidly growing mobile data usage," Atlantic CEO Michael Prior said.

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