updated 08:10 am EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
Vodafone on Verizon Alltel
International cellphone provider Vodafone on Thursday confirmed earlier rumors that its US partner Verizon is nearing a buyout of Alltel that observers value at approximately $27 billion. The two American carriers are described as being in "advanced discussions" to strike a deal with a warning that no agreement is certain at this stage.
Vodafone has access to the deal through a major but non-controlling stake in Verizon that helps shape the American company's overall direction, including its choice of network; both plan to use similar technology for their fourth-generation network.
The move would give Verizon an at least temporary but clear lead over AT&T in US subscriber share and influence. The most recent quarterly results give Verizon 67 million users while Alltel currently holds 13 million; the combined 80 million would eclipse AT&T's current lead with 71 million customers and also allow Verizon a greater ability to dictate a wider choice of phones in the US market; the company late last year announced an open hardware and software platform and has more recently joined both Google's Open Handset Alliance and the LiMo Foundation to promote software development.
AT&T has itself had to allow open hardware and software through the nature of its GSM network but has refrained from joining open platform groups.