AT&T, the nation’s largest wireless carrier with 62 million subscribers, appeared poised to grow even larger with the acquisition of Dobson Communications, a key provider of cellular services to rural customers, in a $5.1 billion transaction announced last Friday. The agreement represents the first major deal for AT&T since the installation of newly-appointed Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, who has indicated that AT&T will be focused primarily on the provision of wireless services in the future. Based in Oklahoma City, Dobson markets wireless services under the Cellular One brand name to 1.7 million rural customers in 17 states across the Midwest and Southwest and in Alaska. Dobson also derives significant revenue from roaming agreements with major carriers that include AT&T. Under the pact, Dobson stockholders would receive $13 per share in cash, representing a premium of 17% over Dobson’s closing share price as of last Friday. AT&T would also assume $2.3 billion in Dobson debt. Explaining that “the rural market is attractive to us,” Stephenson proclaimed that “the addition of Dobson to our wireless family will expand our network coverage and better allow the customers of both companies to be connected whenever, wherever, and however they want.”