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December 4, 2007

Another McCaw legacy wireless company gobbled up

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 8:51 AM

There's not a lot of information on this yet, but AT&T is saying this morning that it has agreed to buy Edge Wireless, which is likely the last wireless carrier started and still being operated by a former McCaw Cellular executive.

Edge Wireless, which serves parts of Oregon, California, Idaho and Wyoming from its headquarters in Bend, Ore., was started by Wayne Perry, Cal Cannon and Donnie Castleman in 1999.

Perry started at McCaw Cellular Communications in 1976, serving as primary legal officer, general counsel, and executive vice president before being named president in 1985. In 1989, he served as vice chairman, a position he retained until McCaw's merger with AT&T in September 1994. After the merger, Perry served as vice-chairman of AT&T Wireless.

He also might be the final member of the McCaw mafia that was still running a wireless network. John Chapple sold Nextel Partners to Sprint following its merger with Nextel, and John Stanton sold Western Wireless to Alltel. Of course, Craig McCaw is busy yet again, running a different kind of wireless network at Kirkland-based Clearwire.

The AT&T press release doesn't include many more details, such as the purchase price or what Perry's role at the company will be. But it does say that Edge has 172,000 subscribers, and that AT&T held a minority ownership interest in Edge since its inception. It is acquiring the remaining 64.3 percent of the company.

The transaction is contingent upon regulatory approval and is expected to close by mid-2008.

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Tricia Duryee
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