Verizon Wireless /Alltel : Done Deal

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A screen shot of the January 9 www.cnet.com web story about the closure of the deal.
A screen shot of the January 9 www.cnet.com web story about the closure of the deal.

Nelson County, Virginia
As NCL Magazine has been reporting over the past year, the pending merger between Verizon Wireless and Alltel is now completed. Technologically it will be many more months before the two companies are totally integrated. Below is a www.cnet.com story that ran on January 9th about the merger.

Hat tip to Greg Heuer of Nelson County, VA for sending us the link:

Verizon Wireless has finally completed its $28.1 billion acquisition of regional wireless carrier Alltel.

Verizon announced its plan to buy Alltel in June for $5.9 billion in equity, and it assumed about $22.2 billion in Alltel’s debt. The deal was struck only seven months after Alltel was bought out by TPG Capital, a unit of Goldman Sachs Group, for $27.5 billion.

The deal now makes Verizon the largest wireless carrier in the United States, with more than 83.7 million customers. AT&T, which had held that title, had 74.9 million wireless customers as of September 30.

Most of Verizon’s new customers are in the Midwest and South, where Alltel operates.

In order to receive approval from regulators, Verizon Wireless agreed to sell operations in 105 markets where Alltel also operates. As a result, Alltel customers in those areas will not be part of the merger with Verizon Wireless.

Alltel customers who are part of the merger will receive letters informing them that their service will change to Verizon Wireless, the company said in an FAQ on its Web site.

Verizon and Alltel both use the cellular technology CDMA. And both companies have built 3G wireless networks using a technology called EV-DO. But it will take months before the companies can integrate their network operations and billing systems.

This means that during the transition, Verizon customers will not be able to receive service at Alltel stores, and vice versa. Alltel customers are also not yet a part of Verizon’s in-calling plans. But once the integration is complete, that will change.

And at least for the time being, Alltel customers will not be offered handsets for which Verizon Wireless is the exclusive carrier, including Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Storm.

And it’s not yet clear when or if deals such as Alltel’s My Circle, which allows for unlimited calling between people in a preselected group, will continue. For now, My Circle will be available to Alltel customers while they are on Alltel’s pricing plan. Verizon is considering whether to create a similar plan for new and existing Verizon Wireless customers.
Marguerite Reardon has been a CNET News reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate, as well as the ongoing consolidation of the phone companies.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Does this mean that if you are a Verizon customer with extended coverage service you will be converted to local service? If so, When

  2. Bob, in theory the answer is yes. I am in exactly the same situation. I have Verizon Wireless operating on the extended Alltel net. My understanding is those sites will become VZW, and should have EVDO service as well (high speed data) once converted. You will then show up as a local VZW customer and be able to get a local number as well. Just like when you travel to Waynesboro right now. Charlottesville will convert that way as well. As far as the time span, no one knows the answer to that question just yet, or isn’t saying. Our inquires to VZW PR person for Virginia have gone unanswered since last October on this topic and the BPL question.

  3. two notes here:

    I called VW on Friday to see if I could get a 434 area code now (as opposed to my current 540), since the person who sold me my phone at their corporate sales office said that once the merger was complete that I could switch to 434. But I was told that there were no 434 #s available.
    I find this difficult to believe but expect that it is a temporary situation while they regroup.

    Also, I mentioned the lack of response by the VA Verizon PRrep to inquires by a “local publication” in my complaint to the FCC.

    I’ve filed two complaints w/ them in the past, one against Adelphia (now Comcast) years ago and one against Alltel last year. When all else fails, the FCC is the one entity that these corporations HAVE to answer to.

  4. Hey Janet, I do have a 434 number on my cell through VZW, but it’s a Farmville, VA exchange. That was the closest I could get about a year ago in the 434 area. Like you, I think it’s misinformation that no more exchanges are left in the 434 area for service here. I plan to switch my number to something around here once the merge is completed.

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