General Communication, Inc. – or GCI – will purchase Alaska Communications’ cell phone customer base. The $300 million purchase should be finalized by the end of March 2015.
GCI Vice President David Morris says the companies are working to ensure a smooth transition. And once the deal is complete, ACS plans will remain largely intact – at least for now.
“We have contracted with ACS to help transition the ACS customers moving on over to the GCI billing system,” Morris said. “Alaska Communications has a specific billing system; so we will need to take that and modify it for our back-office systems and, of course, train personnel to use that system, learn the rates and the plans of Alaska Communications.”
The purchase also includes ACS’s share of the Alaska Wireless Network. The network was formed in July 2013 and combined the wireless network assets of both companies in order to expand coverage and compete with national carriers.
Though the partnership did work, Morris says there were a number of inefficiencies, which he believes this purchase will help smooth out.
“By pulling this solely within GCI, it should allow us to more quickly make network decisions, technology decisions, and certainly reduce the amount of accounting and back-office tracking that was necessary,” Morris said.
Because customers of both companies have been on essentially the same network for the last year and a half, Morris says changes in service should be minimal.
Heather Cavanaugh is the director of corporate communications at ACS. She says the money from the sale will go toward paying down the company’s debt – which totals around $415 million. And it will allow ACS to focus on its resources on other services.
“We have an incredible opportunity to grow in providing broadband and IT solutions to businesses,” Cavanaugh said. “And, in fact, this is an area where we’ve been growing steadily for almost the past three years now.”
“And we have one of the highest growth rates in this area in our sector compared to other telecommunications companies our size.”
Approximately 109,000 ACS customers will be affected by the purchase. ACS will continue to provide cellular service to customers until the purchase is finalized.