UPDATE: Atlantic Tele-Network To Invest $200M In LR, Hire 200-250

by Jamie Walden and Mark Carter  on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 9:37 am  

Frank O'Mara

Gov. Mike Beebe announced Tuesday that Allied Wireless Communications Corp., a subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. of Salem, Mass., formed from Alltel divestiture assets, will establish its headquarters in Little Rock.

The company said the operation will add between 200 and 250 jobs in central Arkansas. Jobs will be filled throughout 2010.

ATN plans to invest more than $200 million in the Little Rock operation. The average annual salary is more than $87,000.

The headquarters will be in a building formerly occupied by Acxiom on Technology Drive in west Little Rock. Allied received a $5 million incentive from the state for retrofitting, equipment and training.

In June, ATN (Nasdaq: %%ATNI%%) acquired $200 million worth of Alltel assets that were required to be divested as part of the $28.1 billion merger between Verizon Wireless and Alltel. The properties will serve about 800,000 subscribers in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Illinois and Idaho.

ATN announced in September that Frank O'Mara would run the Alltel divestiture unit as CEO of Allied Wireless Communications.

O'Mara, former executive vice president of marketing at Alltel, spent 13 years with the Little Rock telecom before the merger, which closed in January.

Shortly after Verizon Wireless shed the Alltel executive management team, O'Mara joined ex-Alltel Chief Operating Officer Jeff Fox at the Circumference Group, a technology and telecommunications investment firm.

ATN's 2008 revenue was $207.3 million, an increase of 11 percent over 2007, and was on pace for another significant increase in 2009. For the first nine months, total revenue was $182.2 million, a 19.9 percent increase over the first three quarters of 2008.

O'Mara said he expected all 200 to 250 jobs to be filled by Arkansans.

"Our intention is to hire all Arkansas folks," he said. "We're trying to put the old [Alltel] band back together to an extent."



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