Allied Wireless to build headquarters in Ark.

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2009 2:08 PM

A wireless company that will serve more than 800,000 former Alltel Corp. subscribers announced Tuesday it will locate its corporate headquarters in Little Rock and hire more than 200 workers.

Allied Wireless Communications Corp., a subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc., is being formed in connection with Atlantic's agreement to buy wireless properties, licenses and network assets from Verizon Wireless after its purchase of Alltel. Allied Wireless Chief Executive Officer Frank O'Mara indicated the company hoped to hire former Alltel workers who had been laid off after the sale.

"We can put the band back together to a little bit of an extent, and that's exciting to me because we do have some extraordinary talent in Arkansas," said O'Mara, Alltel's former chief marketing officer.

Atlantic Tele-Network says it will invest more than $200 million through the purchase of existing wireless assets from Verizon Wireless and refurbishment of a new headquarters for Allied Wireless on Technology Drive in west Little Rock.

The sale of assets to Atlantic Tele-Network is expected to close early next year. Verizon was required by the Federal Communications Commission to sell some of its wireless assets as part of its acquisition of Alltel.

Allied Wireless will provide wireless services to former Alltel subscribers in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Ohio and Idaho.

Gov. Mike Beebe said the state provided $5 million in incentives to help with equipment and training for the new headquarters, and the state would also provide performance-based incentives for the company. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said the city had helped the company select a site for the new headquarters.

Allied and Atlantic officials would not say how much the workers would be paid but referred to the jobs as highly paid professional and technical positions.

"The average salary will be greater than mine," said Beebe, who makes $86,890 a year.

Michael Prior, CEO of Atlantic Tele-Network, said that locating in a city with workers who had telecommunications experience through their work with Alltel was a factor in choosing Little Rock for the headquarters.

"It's people who have worked with each other, a lot of them have, and so it's really a known quantity and culture," Prior said. "People really drove it in the end."


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