Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Alltel Year

Verizon Wireless becomes the largest wireless carrier in the nation on January 9th when they absorb most of the Alltel network and customers. New PRL's have already been issued and more will be coming. But the big story is what happens to the Divested network and customers. The FCC starts a timer that day, and if Verizon doesn't shed the assets required by the divestiture within 60 days, the feds take over the system and do what they want.

For now, those divested markets will stay as Alltel until Verizon decides what to do next. Our guess is that most will be taken over by US Cellular, which would be a good thing. Other possibilities include selling off markets piece by piece, or the whole enchilada going to investors creating a whole new carrier. It will take somebody with excellent credit or deep pockets to make it happen. Gone are the days of easy money for projects that may pay off some day. Verizon is making loans with 8 institutions to make the Alltel deal happen.

There's always the chance of a surprise, and that might be fun, too. There is the remote possibility of a trade and/or sale to AT&T, especially if it makes financial sense. Mark your calendar and start your timers. tick-tick-tick.

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