On January 9, 2008, Verizon Wireless announced that it completed its purchase of Alltel. 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, based on third quarter 2008 reported results from both companies. Approximately 2.1 million of those total customers are in markets that will be divested by Verizon Wireless 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 the latest wireless data services delivered on the nation's largest 3G high-speed wireless broadband network. In addition, when Alltel systems are upgraded in the near future, Alltel customers will have access to the largest mobile-to-mobile calling community in the country, allowing them to use their mobile-to-mobile minutes for calls with Verizon Wireless customers without using their plan minutes.
Alltel customers do not need to take any action now. Current service plans, prices and features 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. Since Verizon Wireless and Alltel use the same technology platform, most customers will be able to use their current handset after the transition to Verizon Wireless.
Verizon Wireless will re-brand Alltel operations in the retained markets in phases, beginning in the second quarter and continuing through the third quarter of 2009, as billing conversions are completed throughout the country. During the transition period, Alltel-branded stores will remain open to serve customers.