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Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, announced today it has completed its purchase of Alltel (FAQ). Verizon Wireless paid approximately $5.9 billion for the equity of Alltel. Immediately prior to the closing, the Alltel debt associated with the transaction, net of cash, was approximately $22.2 billion.

The acquisition expands Verizon Wireless’ network coverage to approximately 290 million people, nearly the entire United States population, and increases the company’s customers by 12.9 million, after conforming adjustments and before required divestitures, making it the largest wireless carrier in the country with more than 83.7 million total customers.

Approximately 2.1 million of those total customers are in markets that will be divested by Verizon Wireless in the coming months, as required by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a condition of the merger approval.

In markets that will be retained and combined with Verizon Wireless’ operations, the company will continue to use the Alltel brand for the next several months, as it works to integrate networks, convert billing systems and upgrade high-speed wireless broadband service. Verizon Wireless will maintain Alltel’s existing GSM networks in retained Alltel markets to continue serving the roaming needs of GSM carriers’ customers.

Alltel customers in markets to be retained will receive a letter during the next few weeks informing them about the purchase and the wide array of new and advanced services that will be available to them when they transition to Verizon Wireless, including wireless data. When Alltel systems are upgraded in the near future, their mobile-to-mobile minutes for calls with Verizon Wireless customers won’t use their plan minutes.

Alltel customers do not need to take any action at this time. Customers’ current service plans, prices and features, including My Circle, will remain the same throughout the transition. Verizon Wireless will notify customers, by mail, about any changes that may impact their service in the future.

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