Verizon Wireless’s (NYSE: VZ) $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel will create the largest U.S. wireless carrier, but at the same time, it wi…

imageVerizon Wireless’s (NYSE: VZ) $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel will create the largest U.S. wireless carrier, but at the same time, it will eliminate one of the most innovative carriers in the country, which begs the question: Is Verizon buying Alltel for its towers and subscribers, or also for its forward-looking approach to the market?

As a regional carrier, Alltel may only serve 13 million subscribers in limited territories, but that gives the company a level of comfort and flexibility to quickly roll out new services without the constraints larger carriers face. It doesn’t worry that millions of users will start using a new service overnight that may crash the network, and it doesn’t have to train as many customer service and retail representatives every time it launches a new phone or application. So, the concern is that once apart of Verizon this attitude will fade. Some of it probably will, but if the merger gains regulatory approval, will companies lose an important petri dish, or gain a larger one?

As an example, Alltel was Seattle-based Ontela’s first customer. CEO Dan Shapiro said he heard about the potential merger yesterday while in a board meeting. Immediately, the topic of conversation focused on how it would affect the industry. “There

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  1. Culture of innovation at Alltel? Who came up with that incredible insight? A Little Rock Arkansas Tier 1.5 like Alltel pretty much apes whatever Verizon does in BREW, downloads, off-deck — of course Verizon is buying Alltel for subs and taking advantage of the distressed debt market because they have absolutely no choice in a maturing market. Come on, Moco, put on your thinking caps!

  2. Yeah guys, terrible headline. Not a smart question at all.


  3. Hey, I'm an Alltel subscriber, and I've enjoyed benefits that customers of the Big 4 could only dream of! $75 bucks a month gets me 2 lines with 1000 anytime minutes, N&W;starting at 7pm, 11 (10 plus my 2yr anniversary bonus number) MYCircle freebie phone numbers, UNLIMITED data tethering for $25 more, and unrestricted Bluetooth OBEX file transfer between my handset and my PC! And no clunky Verizon UI, either. Celltop widgets are ok, and having apps like XM Radio mobile (I know, AT&T;has it too), Melodeo, and mywaves for less than $8/mo is not too shabby for a regional carrier.

    Customer service for me was not bad, either, and if you traveled in rural areas that were native to Alltel, your signal was possibly the best of any carrier, especially compared to AT&T;. I pray the this merger doesn't ruin what was built over time…

  4. DEB LEBANSKY Monday, June 9, 2008


  5. I've been an Alltel customer for about 4 years. I have 3 phone lines and my internet through Alltel. My second 2 year contract is up. I've been thinking about buying a new phone (through Alltel). Should I wait a while? Should I wait until the stores around here (Fargo, ND) say Verizon/Alltel? Are they going to cut some prices on their phones? Honestly I've been quite satisfied with the service I've received through Alltel. What is Verizon going to do to screw that up for myself and many others?… What's going to happen to the customer as far as pricing since Verizon will pretty much monopolize the cellular industry? Will someone please fill me in on these questions. Thank you.

    Concerned customer

  6. I'm with Nate on this. I've had Alltel for years and like it and don't want it to change (unless, of course, the prices go down). I'm do for a phone upgrade but am waiting to see how thing turn out before I sign up for another contract.

  7. I have been with Alltel and it's priors since the bagphones. I have friends with both Verizon, and Alltel.The Alltel people are much happier with their service. I hope Verizon takes a lesson from Alltel. I will stay with them until they give me less than what I have with Alltel. Give them a chance. You can always go with another carrier.

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