ANCHORAGE - AT&T Inc.'s plans to acquire a major Alaska cellular phone provider, Dobson Communications Corp., would allow Alaskans to take advantage of a popular new Apple Inc. product, the iPhone.
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AT&T on Friday announced it had agreed to pay $2.8 billion for Dobson, which does business in Alaska and 16 other states as Cellular One.
The deal still must be approved by regulators, which could happen by the end of the year.
AT&T currently provides roaming service in Alaska but no regular cell service.
According to the company, AT&T products and services including the iPhone will be available in Alaska after the deal is completed.
"We'll move as soon as possible," said McCall Butler, a New York-based AT&T spokeswoman. "It should be seamless from the customer point of view."
Dobson chairman Everett Dobson said the acquisition by AT&T is the only way Dobson's customers could get access to the device.
The price for the iPhone is $499 for a basic, 4-gigabyte model and $599 for an 8-gigabyte version, on top of a two-year service plan with AT&T.
The sale offer for Dobson would add about 1.7 million customers to AT&T's nearly 62 million customers.