Verizon Wireless said it is willing to divest spectrum in 85 rural markets as a condition to its $28.1 billion merger deal with Alltel to allay concerns regulators have over anti-trust issues with the merger, which would creates the largest mobile operator in the U.S.
In comments filed with the FCC, Verizon Wireless said it was committed to divesting overlapping properties with Alltel in North and South Dakota and in parts of 16 other states. Verizon Wireless said the markets it is volunteering to divest represent an initial step that could be expanded after it has more discussions with the Justice Department over the merger. Another concession Verizon Wireless is willing to make, which will likely keep other rural operators from opposing the deal too much, is to give small, rural operators the option of keeping the roaming agreements they already have with Alltel after the merger.
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