VoiceStream To Merge With Aerial Communications - InformationWeek

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VoiceStream To Merge With Aerial Communications

As part of a continuing buying spree aimed at offering users greater geographic coverage for digital wireless services, VoiceStream Wireless Corp. last night revealed it will merge with Aerial Communications Inc. in a multibillion-dollar deal.

VoiceStream currently provides wireless services in the Western states, while Aerial covers much of the Midwest and Southeast. The combined company would have licenses to offer services in 22 of the 25 largest U.S. markets, according to a prepared statement.

The duo, which could challenge AT&T, Sprint, and others in this market, expect the merger to be approved early next year. MCI WorldCom does not yet have a wireless network. VoiceStream is digesting a merger with rival OmniPoint Corp. that was announced in June.

"Our systems will serve markets from New York to Hawaii, and from Minneapolis to Houston," VoiceStream CEO John Stanton said in a statement. Both VoiceStream and Aerial use the same wireless technology, called Global Systems for Mobile Communications, an international standard designed to support roaming.

In a separate announcement, Sonera Ltd., company in Finland that holds stakes in over 20 wireless service providers, said it would invest $500 million in VoiceStream after the OmniPoint deal is approved, which is expected by year's end.

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