PIERRE — Months after being purchased by Verizon Wireless, cell phone networks formerly belonging to Alltel Corp. are being sold again — this time to AT&T. The transfer will require Alltel customers to get new handsets by late 2010, but open up AT&T-only phones such as Apple’s iPhone and the Blackberry Bold to South Dakota customers.
In a $2.35 billion transaction, AT&T bought wireless properties in 79 markets from Verizon Wireless, a sale Verizon had to make to satisfy anti-trust regulations. But unlike Verizon’s purchase of Alltel, AT&T’s network uses different technology than Alltel’s. This will mean cell phones running on Alltel’s network will not work on AT&T’s, and former Alltel customers will have to buy new phones or switch networks.
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