The Department of Justice is requiring Verizon Wireless to sell assets in six markets to complete its $2.67 billion acquisition of Rural Cellular Corp. The sale is necessary to preserve competition in areas of Vermont, rural Washington and New York. The DOJ is concerned that the proposed transaction would reduce competition because Verizon and RCC together would serve more than 60 percent of subscribers in those markets.
Verizon acquired Rural Cellular Corp. last July and is still waiting on DOJ and FCC approval. The combination of the two firms will increase Verizon Wireless' coverage by 4.7 million licensed POPs (population), and increase its customer base by more than 700,000.
The FCC was supposed to approve the Verizon acquisition of RCC last November but pushed the date back by three months because of concerns from some groups in Vermont about Verizon having a near monopoly in that state.