FCC OKs AT&T buy of assets from Verizon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday approved Verizon Wireless’s $2.35 billion wireless spectrum license sale to AT&T Inc.

Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc, is selling the assets as a condition for regulatory approval of its own purchase in January last year of rural provider Alltel.

AT&T said last week it expected to be able to close the purchase by the end of this month. The FCC confirmed the deal in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

AT&T said the deal would bring it 1.6 million new customers and expand its network in 79 primarily rural service areas across 18 states including Alabama, Arizona, California Colorado, Iowa and Kansas.

It said it plans to integrate the new customers onto its network over a 12-month period and promised that for now customers would not see any changes to their coverage, rate plans or existing service contracts.

As the network is integrated the company said that consumers will be able to choose a new phone comparable to their existing phone at no extra cost.

Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard Orr