Verizon Close To Buying Alltel For $27 Billion

CNBC is reporting that Verizon Wireless is deeply involved in talks to buy rural cellphone giant Alltel Wireless for an estimated $27 billion. Alltel was recently taken private TPG and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

Verizon has long been looked at as the ultimate purchaser of Alltel, but failed to bid when the company was auctioned in the spring of 2007. According to people involved in that auction, Verizon believed Alltel’s valuation was too high.

Of course, that was a far different time in the credit markets, when financial buyers were routinely outbidding strategic buyers despite the cost savings and revenue synergies available to the strategic buyers.

What do you Alltel customers think of joining Verizon?

Will you go willingly?

Verizon in Talks to Buy Alltel for $27 Billion [CNBC]
(Photo: DWQ )

Comments

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  1. gmss0205 says:

    I am on Alltel and I think they are the best carrier out there. Their My Circle calling plan saves me a ton of money each month. Hope this doesn’t go through.

  2. lalaland13 says:

    If this merger means those godforsaken “Chad” commercials stop appearing on my TV, I’m all for it. I hate those commercials with the fire of a thousand suns. Even if in the low-standards world of commercials, they’re awful.

  3. Underpants Gnome says:

    Can you hear Chad now?

  4. hellinmyeyes says:

    Alltel is hands-down the best provider out there. Their phone selection SUCKS (which I think Verizon has pretty well cornered), but their plans are awesome and the reception is second to none in all the places I’ve traveled. If Verizon puts in their customer service and high price suckage, I’m jumping ship. I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m really disappointed either way.

  5. Raziya says:

    Verizon will ruin them just like they are ruining Unicel for us.

    Are they going to buy out ALL the rural carriers? Because it sucks here in Vermont to have either Verizon…or Unicel (Verizon!). ><

  6. MahaliaKabolla says:

    I love Alltel. However, that will not stop me from jumping ship for
    the 2nd-gen iPhone, when it arrives.

    I relocated to the Atlanta metro area in December and roam 90% of the
    time on Verizon. The same plan on Verizon would cost an additional $30
    - $50 more. Phone support tends to be competent but for a serious
    issue, you can (could) always reach someone in Little Rock.

    I would be very sorry to see Alltel go.

  7. evslin says:

    Alltel rules, but fuck Verizon.

  8. Bladefist says:

    @gmss0205: I’m on verizon, and I think they are the best. So, you cant go wrong! We’ll be cell brothers.

  9. danseuse322 says:

    My best friends are on Alltel because their friend owns a store. I am on Verizon because their Alltel never works in enough areas as well. Yes, very for this! Might solve my problem–which is entirely selfish, but the question was asked. I know ALltel can be good but the coverage is not comprable. It’s why I did not switch when the people I talk to most did.

  10. altintx says:

    Not a terribly big deal… Alltel’s been running on Verizon’s network for some time. They just sub-lease V’s towers. I chose them over Verizon because they had a cost advantage and better phones– already have the phone, so as long as the price stays the same, I’ll be a happy guy.

  11. Jesse says:

    Alltel and Verizon can merge all they want just as long as they don’t set their sights on US Cellular next.

  12. drjayphd says:

    @lalaland13: Where were you? We’ve been summoning you for hours! -_-

  13. TheUncleBob says:

    As someone who has to deal with both Alltel and Verizon’s Customer service on a regular basis, the idea that Verizon is going to bring their “sucky” customer service to Alltel is crazy.

    I much prefer to call into Verizon and get the issue taken care of than sit on hold with Alltel waiting to get someone who just has to transfer me to another department (that makes me sit on hold as well).

    Of course, either one of these two are preferable to dealing with AT&T’s customer service.

  14. SamTheGeek says:

    I can’t see the brand images merging, especially after Alltel has pulled out all the stops to bash Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile….and every other cell company. It would be like the AT&T merger with Cingular….but with an added bonus of people seeing an old commercial then, overnight, seeing a commercial that introduces Alltel and Verizon together.

  15. u1itn0w2day says:

    Apparently Ma Bell never left the telecom industry.In clsssic government sanctioned monopoly thinking Verizon doesn’t want to compete.

    Hopefully the toothless FCC will put the brakes on this.I to have seen or heard many good stories about Alltel.It would be ashame to loose legitimate competion to a big greedy corporation.This would go up there with the Sirius XM merger if approved.

    When in doubt buy them out.

  16. dragonfire81 says:

    Cellphone brand mergers are bad ideas…Sprint Nextel anyone?

  17. sholnay says:

    @u1itn0w2day:

    sirius/xm is a bad thing?

    sorry for the offtopic reply but I remain unconvinced that the sirius xm merger is bad for consumers – as a customer of sirius, I am anxiously awaiting the day they can merge and be done with this trivial rivalry that has only hurt consumers.

  18. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I hate Verizon, they are overpriced and have terrible customer service. I had them for a year a few years ago and I absolutely hated them. I have been an Alltel customer now for almost a year and they have been so much better than Verizon and Sprint, Uggh, and don’t even get me started about Sprint!

  19. levenhopper says:

    I love Alltel. I can only hope that if Verizon buys them out, that my plan will carry over with me.

  20. Truvill says:

    Well… since they only recently went back to being Private (Alltel), I think the last thing they’d want to do is go public again on top of answering most likely to Verizon.

  21. odhen says:

    I had Alltel for a few years up until 2 years ago when I switched to Verizon. Maybe Alltel has gotten better, but a lot of my calls used to mess up(I’d call one number but I would get connected to someone else, or the caller ID would show it was a friend when it really was someone I don’t know), and I’d get random text messages from people I didn’t know about laundry and picking up soda at the grocery store.

    I haven’t had a single problem with Verizon in the last two years. Never had to deal with their customer service because of that, though, so I can’t comment on that.

  22. u1itn0w2day says:

    sholnay-XM-Sirius merger=no competition and fixed prices.Could even lead to price gouging.

    Just the obvious-they’re will be little or no competition in the PAY radio service if the merger approved.You have free radio but you don’t get any PAY programs.In order for the PAY programs to drop in price or for selection to increase you need competition.

    I’ve heard Jim Cramer’s diatribes on XM and Sirius but he is confusing the issue with apples and oranges.He likes to compare pay radio to free radio.He keeps on saying free radio is afraid of pay radio.I think its the opposite-free radio is the thorn in pay radios side simply because it’s free.The PUBLIC air waves should shared and regulated to keep competition ie choice for the public or end user.

    Samething with alot of these public utility mergers although wireless isn’t regulated like landline it’s still the public airwaves and you should be given a choice in using them.

  23. spinachdip says:

    @sholnay: Yeah, going from two players to one isn’t going to make things appreciably more uncompetitive (and even with a monopoly in the satellite radio market, XM/Sirius still has to compete with terrestrial radio and personal music players). Since both carriers had exclusivity on certain property, the merger is A Good Thing for consumers.

    Though with mobile phone carriers, I worry a little bit since the market has gotten decidedly less diverse after Cingular and AT&TW merged. We might soon be left with 2 or 3 mega carriers offering near identical products at same price points – that’s A Bad Thing. Other than the iPhone, when was the last time a mobile carrier came out with a significant value added or innovation?

  24. taylorb says:

    Somebody please create a wireless company that disrupts the iron-fisted monopoly the big guys have on us.

  25. Mike8813 says:

    Please no! I just got away from Verizon in May for moving to Kansas. I made the switch to Alltel and have been stoked ever since…

    I’ve had recurring wet dreams recalling the day I was finally able to escape my contract. And now you tell me this???

    Wow, what a kick in the balls.

  26. jesuismoi says:

    M*%$#$%$*#$# I don’t want this to happen.

    The mycircle thing took our bills from 200+ per month to just at 100— I can’t get two phone lines for 100/month with unlimited on anyone else.

  27. formatc says:

    @taybay: Okay, but you’ll be subject to early termination fees to make sure I can retain your business. I’ll also have terrible overseas customer support to cut costs. My roaming charges, while technologically trivial, will be exorbitant. My call plans will be riddled with fine print to trick you into paying my obscenely high overage fees. And don’t even ask me about data plans – my prices are built around a standard that lets me gouge my corporate accounts for business email access, not for your lowly personal convenience.

  28. taber says:

    Well, I guess as long as I’m not being bought out by Sprint? *hopeful look* le sigh.

  29. Major-General says:

    @hellinmyeyes: This is sad. When I was a Verizon customer I always had better signal roaming on Alltel, USCellular or Sprint than on Verizon.

  30. mantari says:

    I didn’t believe that Alltel was going to have a future with the next generation of mobile services, so this is interesting to me.

  31. TheUncleBob says:

    @spinachdip: The iPhone is a significant “value or innovation”?!? Wow. Here I thought it was a mostly re-hashed POS stuck on the slowest data network AT&T had to offer.

  32. galatae says:

    Meh, whatever. I’m with Alltel for coverage reasons because we’re rural and they work. One would hope that if they take over, they’ll maintain the network. Customer service is going to suck no matter who runs it, because it’s always going to be about the bottom line.

  33. jlmccor says:

    I believe that a merger between Verizon Wireless and Alltel, would not only be a cost savings to VZW (roaming agreements), but more importantly offering rural customers a national choice, which is not always available, as well as offering a consistent brand across the US instead offering limited services in the extended network (which mostly covers, but not limited to, NE, KS, OK, etc…) Every major carrier today can trace its’ roots to a series of acquisitions, even Alltel itself. Furthermore, people are always crying that they want more innovation, better technology but do not want to pay a dime more. Now cellular carriers do make a pretty penny, nevertheless they are a for-profit business that has stakeholders to take are of (I’m saying it is right, but the way it is.) Even with that said, VZW has been committed to offer us, the consumer, five billion dollars a year towards network enhancements, yet even with that call are dropped, network outages occur, and mistakes happen (as well as the messed up world of EFTs. Sometimes I think we should be more like Europe were you by the phone full retail, and then choose the carrier you want. Goodbye ETFs!) However, that is a fact of life, and nothing can ever be perfect regardless of how much you pay or how greener you think things will be on the other side.

  34. bradanomics says:

    **** you, Chad!

  35. FLConsumer says:

    Aw hell no! I’ve been with Alltel for 11 years now. I’ve since had several friends and coworkers leave Verizon & Sprint for Alltel since then, mainly to avoid Verizon’s terrible anti-customer attitude & policies and Sprint’s poor coverage.

    Not sure who I’d go to after Alltel. Sprint’s coverage in Florida is terrible. Had AT&T for work at one point and it was so bad they just gave me extra $$/mo and I kept my Alltel phone. T-Mobile has very spotty coverage.

    Alltel currently has tower sharing agreements with Verizon & Sprint, which virtually means I usually get 4-5 signal strength bars anywhere I go.

    Even in NYC, I find my Blackberry works fine in most of the Manhattan subway stations.

    Where the hell’s the FTC when you need them? Verizon’s trying (and succeeding) at creating a monopoly and I don’t see any government intervention to stop it. When Verizon bought out GTE in Florida, they were forced to split the landlines from the cell phones. They kept the landlines and sold off the cell side to Alltel. It wasn’t allowed back then, why should it be allowed now?

  36. Syrus28 says:

    All this talk about Verizon + Alltel creating a monopoly… Ever heard of AT&T, or Sprint, or T-Mobile? Of course you have. Verizon + Alltell will barely edge out AT&T in terms of subscribers. I don’t think most people truly understand what a monopoly is…

    Also realize that Alltel already uses Verizon and Sprint coverage to cover up their shortcomings. So chances are you’ve been on Verizon’s “network” before.

    And best of all, the horrible Chad can join the Dell dude in the uneployment line… The “wizards” got the best of him :)

  37. edcrowle says:

    I am natively from Little Rock (Alltel’s hq) and whilst living in the south, the service was great. When I moved to Illinois, things changed entirely. They weren’t supporting GSM at the time (I’m not sure about now) and the 3rd party carriers they used were absolutely abysmal. The last time I carried Alltel was 2 years ago, and I was not pleased with their *nationwide* service. Also, I stood at the flagship corporate store in Little Rock for more than an hour on more than one occasion.

    Alltel customer service – F-
    Alltel southern coverage – A+
    Alltel national – D-

    If Verizon keeps the infrastructure that Alltel has built, I think it would be a boon to *can you hear me now* in at least southern and rural areas.

    Also, I was totally always mauled by cheerleaders when I whipped out my Alltel phone (the same when I wear Axe), so kuddos to chad :^)

  38. huntsterUNC says:

    noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  39. huntsterUNC says:

    oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

  40. bombledmonk says:

    What is going to happen to Altell’s reasonably large GSM network. I think they only used it for charing others for it’s use, but I noticed that the GSM coverage is quite good in Rural MN and I believe that it is because Altell built out GSM on top of their CDMA network.

    It would sure be nice if they sold it so we could have more competition up here. Currently the only two providers that work here are Alltel and Unicel. With Unicel already being bought out, that leaves Alltel and Verizon. That’ll soon be Verizon and Verizon if this goes through which sucks royally.

  41. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I had to switch to Alltel for their rural coverage about a year and a half ago, and whether they are called Alltel or Verizon, I will dump them as soon as I have another alternative. Their treatment of me as a new customer was ghastly. There are always little “surprises” on their bill, and no accountability from their customer service representatives. If I’d known about Consumerist when I got my first taste of their tactics, man, the letter you would have received from me….!

  42. mike says:

    I’m a verizon customer and have been since 2002. But from what I know about Alltel, they are one of the best cell companies (relatively speaking, of course).

    I think the Alltel customers would lose out while Verizon customers get more people to call for free.

  43. Sam2k says:

    I currently use Alltel for wireless internet because they’re the only carrier that doesn’t have a 5GB monthly cap. Verizon, on the other hand, charges overages at $.50 per MB. This could cost me thousands per month.

  44. Shannon says:

    I have Verizon, they are the only good carrier out here in my lil’ part of the world so if they do buy alltel, then does that mean I get a “my circle?”

  45. bcsus83 says:

    NOOOOOO! I switched from Verizon to Alltel to get AWAY from Verizon. Ugh!

  46. DeadlySinz says:

    [www.iht.com]

    Goodbye Alltel :(

  47. JayDeEm says:

    @bcsus83: Me Too :( As a side note, Verizon has sent me a notice of credit due but no check. I just know I’m going to have to talk to a ‘customer retention’ person to get my damn money back.

  48. BlazerUnit says:

    @Syrus28: No monopolies, to be sure, but differing brands of suck.

    I had grown to like the Alltel suck because most of the time, it didn’t suck.

    If Alltel meshes into my last experience of Verizon, then Google can’t premiere a phone/wireless device soon enough.

  49. RobertW.TX says:

    I wonder what everyone here does that requires them to talk to their Cell Phone companies customer service all the time. I have used Sprint, TMobile, and Cingular in the past I don’t think I have had more than 3 calls to any company in over 10 years of cell phone service.

  50. FrankReality says:

    I have Alltel for both cell phone and wireless DSL.

    I don’t want to go, but since they’re the only DSL service available at my location, I really don’t have a choice.

  51. kazoni says:

    I’m in the same boat. I’m out in Western Kansas and Alltel has been the only decent carrier out here. All of the other big companies (Sprint, AT&T, etc) only get decent reception if your close to Wichita, Topeka, Kansas City or on the interstate (I’m 60 mi south of I-70 so no coverage). I’ve been happy with them. My few customer service dealings went over smoothly (mainly activating a new phone that I got from eBay). I’m very curious to see what this is going to do for available phones/rates/services. I’m probably screwed either way. Bah.

  52. temporaryerror says:

    @kazoni:
    Kazoni, are you in Hays? IIRC, when I went to school out there from ’98-02, alltel was the only worthwhile provider in town. There was/is Westlink, but I think that they are a VERY regional GSM provider. One thing that I liked is that I could go to the alltel store on Vine and swap out a broken phone for a refurb/used phone out of a box for $10, no act fee.