AT&T buys Long Lines' wireless unit, bolsters rural reach, fiber transport in Iowa

AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) is enhancing its rural wireless coverage with a deal to acquire Sergeant Bluff, Iowa-based Long Lines' wireless network unit as the rural telco looks to sharpen its focus on its wireline business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Expected to be completed in Q4 2013 after it receives the FCC's approval, Long Lines said it plans to "re-invest the proceeds of its wireless asset sales" to expand its wireline-based services, including its growing consumer and business broadband service segments.

None of Long Lines' wireline-based data and video service customers will be affected by the sale.

"We concluded that Long Lines could best serve our customers by focusing our attention and investing our resources in providing new features for our non-wireless services including voice, broadband services, and cable TV, and in expanding our fiber optic network to reach more communities and customers," said Brent Olson, CEO of Long Lines, in a release.

Similar to other rural telcos, Long Lines is a multi-faceted telco that has expanded beyond its traditional telephony-centric roots by building out cable networks in partnership with local municipalities in Iowa. The telco recently introduced a 100 Mbps broadband offering over its DOCSIS 3.0 network and offers 10 Gbps Ethernet, MPLS and data center services to local businesses.

While Long Lines is exiting the wireless delivery business it entered into in 2005 when it purchased two other smaller operators, it appears to be retaining a wireless backhaul relationship with AT&T Mobility, which said it will purchase fiber-based transport services.

For more:
- see the release

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