GCI, Alaska Comm Team on Wireless

General Communication Inc. (NASDAQ:GNCMA) and Alaska Communications Systems (NASDAQ:ALSK) have signed definitive agreements to form The Alaska Wireless Network, a Delaware limited liability company that will hold and operate both companies' wireless facilities. AWN will design and operate an Alaska statewide wireless network to provide next generation wireless service plans for GCI and Alaska Communications wireless customers. GCI and Alaska Communications will continue to market and sell these plans independently to their respective retail customers. The transaction is expected to close by the second quarter of 2013.

Under the terms of the agreements, which have been approved by the boards of each company, GCI and Alaska Communications each will contribute to AWN their respective wireless assets, including spectrum licenses, cell sites and backhaul facilities, switching systems, and certain other assets necessary to operate a statewide wireless network. As part of the transaction, GCI will purchase $100 million of wireless assets from Alaska Communications and contribute them to AWN.

AWN is expected to cover more than 95% of Alaska's population. Initially, AWN will serve the more than 250,000 GCI and Alaska Communications urban and rural subscribers and lifeline subscribers.

GCI COO Wilson Hughes, who has served in that role since 1991, will serve as CEO and president of AWN. Greg Chapados will succeed Hughes as executive vice president and chief operating officer of GCI. Chapados joined GCI in 2006 as senior vice president.
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