updated 11/18/2005 9:53:20 AM ET 2005-11-18T14:53:20

Alltel Corp. said Friday it will purchase regional wireless-services provider Midwest Wireless for $1 billion in a deal that will give it 400,000 customers in a territory including southern Minnesota, northern and eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin.

The purchase of the Mankato, Minn.-based company is expected to close in the first half of 2006 and is contingent upon regulatory approval.

“The Midwest Wireless business strengthens our position in the wireless industry by adding ... properties that are contiguous to our existing markets in the Midwestern U.S.,” Alltel President and Chief Executive Scott Ford said.

Alltel, which is based in Little Rock, provides wireless, local and long-distance, Internet and broadband services in 36 states. It has more than 15 million customers.

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