New Alaska wireless network

Two Alaska telecommunications companies are planning a joint venture that they say will create the fastest wireless network in the state.

Tuesday's announcement by General Communication Inc., or GCI, and Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. comes as Verizon Wireless prepares to enter the Alaska market.

GCI and Alaska Communications announced that they'd signed agreements to form The Alaska Wireless Network LLC, which would build and operate a statewide wireless system for GCI and Alaska Communications customers. GCI would own two-thirds of the network and Alaska Communications, one-third.

Under the deal, GCI also would buy $100 million in wireless assets from Alaska Communications, which a spokeswoman said will help strengthen the company financially. Those assets would be put toward the new network.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.