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Verizon Wireless completes Alltel purchase, becomes No. 1

January 9, 2009 | 11:01 am

Alltel Verizon Wireless will become the nation's largest wireless provider today with a whopping 83.7 million customers as it completes its acquisition of Alltel. That means about 28% of people in the U.S. are Verizon customers. It also means that yes, Verizon, we can hear you now.

Verizon said in a release today that it would keep using the Alltel brand for the next few months and that it would begin rebranding in the second quarter. Sadly, that probably means slapping Verizon names on the Alltel properties, rather than some strange combination such as AllVerizon, Veritel or Allizon. Too bad they don't want to use an anagram of Verizon Alltel: the best one we could find was Viral Tell Zone, which seems fitting for a wireless company.

The merger was announced in June, when Verizon said it would pay $5.9 billion for Alltel and acquire even more billions worth of debt to add 13 million customers. It took months to clear regulatory hurdles, but the deal received Federal Communications Commission approval in November and Federal Trade Commission approval this month. The FCC had also cleared a merger between Sprint and Clearwire that was completed last week.

Under the terms of the deal, Verizon has to divest overlapping properties in 105 markets. Many of those are in rural areas in South Dakota, Kansas and Montana.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Maybe Verizon bought Alltel so it could own this cool car. Credit: szkea via Flickr

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