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[AK] Alaska Companies Join Forces
Earlier this week, the two primary communications companies in Alaska, GCI and Alaska Communications announced the merging of wireless assets into a new LLC branded the "Alaska Wireless Network" or AWN. Each company will roll in all wireless assets including roaming agreements, spectrum licenses, etc. into this company.
AWN will then sell wireless services wholesale to both GCI and Alaska Communications, who will continue to compete with each other. However as a result, Alaska Communications can now sell GSM-based services to customer's in rural Alaska, a market they have been unable to enter until now with their CDMA/EVDO infrastructure.
And GCI can sell EVDO devices (although I don't envision them doing this), but GCI's main benefit here is that Alaska Communications won the LTE spectrum for Alaska, so GCI can now take advantage of helping build that infrastructure faster.
The main interest piece here is that Verizon has quietly been moving in, having recently opened stores in Anchorage, as well as acquired zoning approvals for placing towers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Wasilla; Alaska's 3 largest cities. This new LLC allows both of these local carriers to somewhat pool resources together to better compete against a company like Verizon.
GCI is the larger of two companies, and is contributing a vast majority of infrastructure to this "alliance". GCI will own 66.66667%, while Alaska Communications will own 33.33333% of the Alaska Wireless Network.
Will this actually improve services for these two companies, or is it strictly a move to get a head start on 4G deployment before Verizon starts putting up their own towers everywhere?
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