Alltel was recently acquired by Verizon Wireless in a contract buy-out. Verizon purchased all of Alltel's customers, cell towers and existing contracts. Alltel customers are automatically transitioned into Verizon service, except in the areas where Verizon was required to sell service area to AT&T. The only way to switch from Alltel to Verizon is if the company switches the contract for you or you elect to switch yourself.
Alltel provided service mainly in the Midwest and rural areas. Verizon also had a large base of customers in the Midwest, hence their interest in obtaining Alltel. Alltel came under financial trouble and had acquired an immense amount of debt that it could no longer work its way out of. A buy-out was one of the company's only options, and Verizon, being one of the top mobile service providers in the nation, was able to purchase the company. As a result of anti-trust laws, Verizon could not keep all of Alltel's service areas because it would become possible for Verizon to develop into a monopoly. They sold many shares of the company to AT&T, letting AT&T handle the future service of Alltel customers in those areas.
Compulsory Contract Switch
All Alltel contracts were slowly transitioned into either Verizon contacts or AT&T contracts, depending upon whether Verizon sold a particular area to AT&T or not. Alltel customers do not have an option of choosing their next service provider if they wish to keep their current contract. You must take on the company that Alltel became in your area, either Verizon or AT&T. If Alltel transitioned to Verizon or AT&T in your area, and that is acceptable to you, your service continues without interruption or extra fees. Your reception might even improve because more cellular towers are connected to your network now.
Different Mobile Provider
If your service area is changing from Alltel to Verizon or AT&T but you want to use a different mobile service provider, you must pay the early-termination fee. This stipulation was a part of the contract that you signed, regardless of company mergers. For example, if Alltel became AT&T in your area and you wanted to use Verizon, you must end your contract early and sign another contract with Verizon. Alternatively, you can wait out your contract with AT&T and switch without penalty at a later date.
The merger took place in 2008 and is still in process. Many Alltel customers have not had to begin using Verizon or AT&T service as of yet. You can still log into the Alltel website and pay your bills, check your minutes and stay updated on service changes. However, within a few years, the entire transition will be complete and Alltel will not exist as an independent entity any longer. For example, it might still say Alltel at the top of your bill, but you have to call Verizon for customer service. Check the Alltel website for service in your area and to see if it has been transitioned to Verizon or AT&T.
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