Verizon Wireless said on Thursday it will buy rural mobile service provider Alltel for $28.1 billion (14.4 billion pounds) including debt, which would vault it to first place in the U.S. market ahead of AT&T.
Under terms of the deal, Verizon Wireless would acquire the equity of Alltel for $5.9 billion, and assume an estimated $22.2 billion in debt that was incurred primarily when Alltel was taken private in a leveraged buyout last November by TPG Capital TPG.UL and Goldman Sachs Group's GS Capital Partners.
In my aunt's town Alltel is pretty much the only game around, and it's been that way since, well the beginning. I think Alltel has done a neat job of keeping the saturation of big competition in check in smaller markets where Verizon hasn't been able to penetrate. This will finally give some choice to people living in some small mid-western towns. It'll be great that those customers are finally rid of Alltel customer service which is terrible.
They shouldn't expect any service changes in the near future. The Sprint-Nextel merger hasn't changed anything except the billing invoice and the telephone number that you call. According to one of the technicians I spoke, to there currently isn't a telephone that will work seamlessly between the two technologies. He said there was an attempt to merge the systems last year but failed. There isn't a projected date for customers to have access to all services regardless of who their original service provider was.