It's taken more than a year, but Verizon has just officially announced that it has completed its purchase
of Rural Cellular, which you may also know by its business name, Unicel
. This latest announcement follows a conditional approval
from the FCC earlier this week, which required one of the two companies to sell licenses in six markets in order to "improve competition" -- a compromise Verizon seems to have been more than willing to accept. All told, Verizon will be forking over $2.66 billion in cash and assumed debt for the company, which will increase its customer base by more than 625,000, and expand its coverage area by 4.7 million people, including markets in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Alabama, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.