Verizon-Alltel deal leaves subscriber gaps

About 2 million Alltel customers have been left in limbo while Verizon Wireless integrates the regional wireless provider into its operations following the close of its $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel last week. 

Many Alltel customers in rural parts of the South will be left stranded until a buyer is found for the territory. As a condition of the acquisition, Verizon agreed to divest from 105 markets where its service overlapped with Alltel. Divested territories will continue to have service while a buyer is being found.

The majority of Alltel's subscribers will automatically have their service switched to Verizon, and may be integrated as early as this spring, but the remaining subscribers will have to switch to Verizon on their own. The divested territory is being managed by a trust in the interim.

"If they are interested in becoming a Verizon customer, then it is a normal process. They would have to port their number. They would have to come into one of our locations. It is just as though they were with another carrier," said Verizon spokeswoman Caran Smith. Smith added that these customers will face penalties from terminating their Alltel service and switching to Verizon, as they are still technically Alltel customers.   

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