GSM wireless service provider VoiceStream Wireless today agreed to buy Aerial Communications for $2.96 billion in an effort to build out its national network.
The all-stock deal comes just three months after VoiceStream's similar deal with Omnipoint Communications, which was worth $5.5 billion.
After all the mergers are completed, VoiceStream will have more than 1.5 million customers and licenses that cover 200 million customers, VoiceStream officials said.
"Aerial's markets are both attractive and highly complementary to VoiceStream's ever-expanding footprint across the United States," said John W. Stanton, chairman and chief executive at VoiceStream. "After our mergers with Aerial and Omnipoint are completed . . . nearly three out of every four people in the United States will live in VoiceStream markets."
VoiceStream currently provides service to wireless customers in 13 states in the western portion of the U.S., including Texas, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii. The June acquisition of Omnipoint added licenses that cover up to 96 million customers on the eastern seaboard, while today's deal adds 27.5 million licenses in Ohio, Florida, Houston, Minneapolis and Kansas City. Currently, VoiceStream holds licenses for up to 85 million customers.
The GSM market has been slow to ramp up due to a lack of nationwide coverage. Today's deal gives VoiceStream a boost in its fight against Sprint PCS and AT&T Wireless Service, the market leaders in wireless PCS services.