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Alltel All in For Midwest Wireless

In its second major acquisition this year, Alltel today said it will buy Midwest Wireless for $1.08 billion in cash to gain spectrum and subscribers.

Purchasing privately held Midwest will give Alltel approximately 400,000 customers in Southern Minnesota, Northern and Eastern Iowa and Western Wisconsin.

In addition to wireless voice, Mankato, Minn.-based Midwest also offers mobile Internet access through phones and handheld devices, and in some areas, broadband Internet access.

"[The acquisition] strengthens our position in the wireless industry by adding CDMA properties that are contiguous to our existing markets in the Midwestern U.S.," Scott Ford, Alltel president and CEO, said in a statement.

Dennis Miller, president and CEO of Midwest, said the sale will benefit customers who will be served by a company with Midwest's expertise in rural coverage and Alltel's nationwide footprint.

Little Rock, Ark.-based AllTel continues to grow through acquisition. In January, it bought Western Wireless in a stock-and-cash deal valued at $6 billion, which made it the fifth-largest U.S. wireless carrier.

That deal brought Alltel approximately 1.4 million domestic wireless customers in 19 states, which gave the company 10 million domestic customers. The deal also brought Alltel 1.6 million international customers in six countries.