Department of Justice approves Verizon's Alltel acquisition, requires more concessions

The suits at the Department of Justice just green-lighted Verizon's planned acquisition of regional rival Alltel, moving the two CDMA giants closer to a marriage that would easily eclipse AT&T to become the largest wireless carrier in North America. There's a catch, though, and a rather hefty one at that -- Verizon has to agree to divest itself of some 100 local markets in 22 states to keep the competitive landscape in action; given that they've already indicated a willingness to shed some markets to seal the deal, it probably won't be an issue. The next hurdle for Vertel (or Allzon, depending on how you roll) will come on November 4, when the FCC votes on whether it'll bless the deal. As for the rumors that Verizon is now eligible to get Alltel at a 50 percent discount with a $1 billion mail-in rebate if it agrees to a two-year contract, we're not hearing any comment from either side.