Justice Department approves Verizon-Alltel deal

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Verizon's proposed $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel that the FCC is set to vote on on Nov. 4.

Antitrust regulators at the Justice Department gave their assent to the deal--which, if approved, will create the nation's largest wireless operator--on the condition that Verizon divest 100 markets in 22 states where the two carriers now overlap. The Federal Communications Commission has to give final regulatory approval to the acquisition, which was first announced in June.

"It was a very long and thorough merger evaluation," said John Thorne, general counsel for Verizon. The Justice Department "did it with terrific speed and thoroughness."

Consumer advocates have argued that the new company, with a combined 83.8 million subscribers, would stifle competition.

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