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Rural Cellular sues Alltel for trying to steal customers from sold markets

Chris Ziegler

Last year, Rural Cellular bought a handful of Minnesota markets from Alltel. No big deal, right? A little money changes hands, a few subscribers move from one carrier to another. As part of the sale, Alltel agreed to continue to service the customers until they could be fully migrated to Rural's systems -- problem is, they may have "serviced" them a little too hard, if you catch our drift. A lawsuit brought on by Rural claims that, among other things, Alltel hustled the affected customers really hard during the transition period to get them to switch back to Alltel and offered them "slipshod" service on Rural's transitional network to help make that decision a little easier. By the time all was said and done, subscriber churn in the markets was a sky-high 13 percent, certainly suggesting that there was some buffoonery going on. The suit seeks millions in damages on the $48 million deal -- and with Verizon's acquisition of Rural currently going through the regulatory process, it certainly seems like the outcome could have an effect.

[Thanks, Droo]

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