AT&T spends $944 million to acquire Centennial Communications

AT&T continues wireless services spending spree

AT&T continued its heavy investments in boosting its wireless services this week by spending $944 million to acquire wireless communications provider Centennial Communications.

AT&T continued its heavy investment in wireless services this week by announcing that it will spend $944 million to acquire wireless communications provider Centennial Communications.

In purchasing Centennial, a regional provider of wireless communications services, AT&T says it will improve its wireless coverage in several rural areas in both the continental United States and in Puerto Rico. Centennial has a total of 1.1 million wireless customers and has a particularly strong presence in Midwestern states such as Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. The wireless company also has a significant footprint in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

(View a slideshow of the hottest tech M&A deals of 2008.)

The acquisition of Centennial is the second major purchase that AT&T has made to boost the scope and quality of its wireless services this month. Last week, the carrier purchased Wayport, a network and applications management company that provides back-office management for Wi-Fi hot spots. By acquiring Wayport for $275 million, AT&T will expand its Wi-Fi footprint to roughly 20,000 locations in the United States and more than 80,000 locations around the world.

Although AT&T has now spent more than $1.2 billion over the past week to bolster its wireless services, these deals are still dwarfed by Verizon's recent purchase of Alltel Wireless for $28 billion. After the Verizon-Alltel merger was approved by the Federal Communications Commission last week, Verizon will soon have an estimated 80 million wireless subscribers and will be able to expand its coverage into more rural areas throughout the United States.

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