US telecom giant AT&T said Tuesday it had agreed to acquire spectrum, retail stores and other assets from Atlantic Tele-Network's Alltel brand for $780 million.

The Alltel retail wireless operations has some 585,000 subscribers and covers some 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas in six states: Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.

The acquisition includes spectrum that is largely complementary to AT&T's existing network and will be converted to AT&T's network.

The deal, expected to close in the second half of the year, would help AT&T meet surging demand for mobile Internet services created by growth in smartphones and tablets.