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Verizon-Alltel OK by DoJ

Must flog some assets

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The US Justice Department has approved Verizon's takeover of Alltel, to create the largest mobile operator in the USA, as long as the company sells off assets in 22 states.

The approval was expected, and Verizon has been working with the Justice Department to identify areas where the combined company might be at risk of holding a monopoly and will leaving the combination with about 78 million subscribers. Right now Verizon has 70.8 million and Alltel 13 million, so five and a half million punters are going to find themselves changing provider.

The companies identified 85 areas where they thought combined ownership might be a problem, and the Justice Department identified another 15 they had missed. So the sell-off will impact 100 market areas, though they've not been publicly identified yet.

The deal still needs approval from the FCC, who will be voting on the issue next Tuesday, along with the eagerly awaited decision on white space usage. Lucky there's nothing else important happening that day, eh? ®

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