No, not EDGE, as in the EDGE data network on which the iPhone runs. This is Edge Wireless, a company that carries about 172,000 subscribers. This will strengthen AT&T’s holdings in the Pacific Northwest, though they did already own a stake in Edge. In 2000, when the company was forming, AT&T invested a bit, and is now acquiring the remaining 64.3 percent.
The addition of Edge Wireless’ GSM network will complement AT&T’s existing GSM networks in Northern California, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. AT&T customers will enjoy broader in-network coverage in these areas, and Edge Wireless customers will gain access to AT&T’s full portfolio of products and services as well as AT&T’s fully integrated GSM network, which now covers more than 290 million people in 13,000 U.S. cities and towns.
The results, of course, won’t be immediate. The deal still has to pass through approval stages, which as we’ve found out from the Verizon and Vermont ordeal, isn’t always simple. The fewer choices consumers have in an area, the harder it is for deals like this to be approved. Worst case, though, AT&T might be forced to divest some of its interests in the area, as they had to do in the Dobson acquisition. [CNN Money]