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Dobson Cellular Systems
Fate Acquired
Successor AT&T Mobility LLC
Founded 1920
Defunct November 15, 2007
Headquarters Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Key people Everett R. Dobson – Chairman
Steven P. Dussek – CEO & president
Industry Wireless Services
Parent Dobson Communications (1920-2007) AT&T Mobility (2007-present)

Dobson Cellular Systems, Inc. now part of AT&T Mobility, was a wireless telecommunications provider in several regions of the United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Dobson Cellular Systems was a wholly owned subsidiary of Dobson Communications Corporation based in Oklahoma City. It was the provider of Cellular One-branded services in the United States. Dobson operated under the brand name of Cellular One, and provided service on a D-AMPS and GSM network. The company purchased the rights to the Cellular One name from Alltel in December 2005.


Corporate history

Formed in the 1920s, Dobson Communications originally operated a small wireline telephone network in Oklahoma. In 70 years, Dobson had evolved to become the nation's largest independent rural wireless provider. Dobson's operations in 60 markets were acquired through several purchases within the last 10 years.

On June 29, 2007 AT&T announced that they had reached an agreement to purchase Dobson Cellular division. The closing price was $2.8B USD, or $13 per share. AT&T also agreed to assume the outstanding debt of $2.3B USD.

The sale completed on November 15, 2007, with market transition beginning December 9, 2007. The Cellular One brand name was sold to Trilogy Partners in February 2008.

The Federal government prevented AT&T from taking certain Dobson markets In Kentucky along the Ohio border and the I75 corridor, due to the potential monopoly this would create in this area. After placing these markets in a trust for one year, they were sold to Verizon wireless in November 2008 with market transition to be completed by November 2009.


Dobson was, for the most part, a rural provider. It claimed to be the largest provider of cellular services in Alaska as well as in Michigan. It was also the exclusive provider of GSM technology in many of its markets and has a few resellers such as TracFone and smaller MVNOs in particular states. It also provided voice and data roaming capability for many AT&T and T-Mobile customers. Dobson had recently upgraded a majority of its GSM/GPRS towers with an EDGE overlay, providing an even faster data rate for their customers.


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