Verizon Wireless confirms it will buy Alltel for about $28bn, based on a net debt of $22bn and an equity purchase of $6bn. Alltel serves 13m mobile customers in 34 states, including 57 rural markets not served by VZ. The combined company will have some 80m mobile subscribers, taking the pole position in the US market, ahead of ATT Mobility. The merger is a good operation for VZ as Alltel complements its national coverage in rural zones, keep inside roaming revenues (hundreds of millions in roaming charges every year) as VZ had established partnerships for roaming with Alltel, now controls GSM roaming deals (through Western Wireless) with ATT Mobility and T-Mobile and CDMA roaming deal with Sprint Nextel, brings enough customers (mainly high-value post-paid customers) to take the leadership in the US market, utilizes the same technology than VZ (CDMA) easing operations, maintenance and saving costs (synergies are expected to generate a NPV after integration costs of about $9bn). The merger would be completed by the end of the year, unless regulatory and political (election in Nov. 08) problems are raised. Analysts, however, expects that it will be done after some concessions (asset disposals in overlapping markets and probably on roaming ). Verizon Wireless’ stock was up more than 5% on the news to around $39 per share.