Western Wireless ( WWCA) shares surged Thursday on a report that Alltel ( AT) is close to a deal to acquire the wireless communications company for about $4 billion.

A deal could happen within the next week, according to a report in The New York Times, which said a final price tag is among the unresolved issues.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Western provides rural wireless communications services in the U.S. Shares rose $4, or 12.9%, to $35.00 in premarket trading.

Shares in Little Rock, Ark.-based Alltel, which provides wireless and conventional telephone services, closed at $58 Wednesday.

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