Verizon Wireless, the joint wireless venture from Verizon and Vodafone, is poised to become the largest wireless carrier in the US. Once the company finalizes a deal to acquire Alltel, Verizon will supplant AT&T as the largest carrier, by subscriber count. Verizon has been given the greenlight to acquire Alltel from the US DoJ and FCC, pending Verizon’s fulfillment of market divestment stipulations.
The FCC has announced today that Verizon will have to let go of 105 wireless markets. Verizon Wireless will have to divest those markets within 120 days of completing its Alltel acquisition.
The announcement adds an additional five markets to the list of wireless markets that Verizon Wireless will be required to divest in order to buy Alltel. Verizon Wireless had previously agreed to divest 100 markets, garnering it teh DoJ’s blessing to acquire Alltel. The FCC, however, reviewed 218 additional markets that might see reduced competition due to the deal, and determined that 5 of those markets would be negatively impacted if Verizon wasn’t made to offload assets in those areas.
This puts the total number of markets that Verizon will have to offload at 105. The FCC has recommended that Verizon look into selling at least part of the 105 markets to regional, local, and rural carriers like US Cellular.