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Verizon-Alltel merger seen as benefit for both

POSTED: October 5, 2009 6:16 p.m.
Photo by Pat Donahue/

Verizon Georgia/Alabama Region President Jeff Mango, left, helps Verizon employees show off their donation of $500 and a vehicle load of groceries from Kroger's to Glenda King, right, and the Victim Witness Assistance Program. The donations were part of Verizon's ribbon cutting at its new location. As part of its community participation, Verizon's company focus is domestic violence prevention and awareness.

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Alltel customers will be able to hear Verizon now in the wake of Verizon’s acquisition of its former cell carrier competitor.

The merger affects about 12.9 million customers — the number of Alltel subscribers brought aboard by the acquisition — across the country and brings the number of Verizon customers to more than 80 million. There were 10 counties in the state that were brought into the Verizon fold, and 11 that were not.

Verizon now covers 99 percent of the state’s population, said Lanyae Bolden, manager of the local Verizon store.

“When you put Verizon and Alltel together, we are definitely better,” said Jeff Mango, Verizon Georgia/Alabama region president. “The first thing is you get America’s most reliable network. Right now, we’re in the process of integrating all of the network.”

Rincon and the Coastal Empire will be integrated before the end of the year, Mango said, with 40 towers to give an expanded footprint and 3G coverage.

“We have the most 3G coverage in the country,” he said. “Five times more than the next carrier.”

The integration has been going well, Mango said, because both companies have the same technology.

“We took the best of both worlds,” he said.

Verizon has taken Alltel’s popular My Circle plan and incorporated into its own family of products and services. Both companies had strong showings in customer satisfaction surveys, Mango said.

“We’re both very customer focused,” he said. “We both have the best loyalty.”

Both Alltel and Verizon have the lowest “churn,” or loss of customers, in the industry, Mango said.

Alltel customers brought into the Verizon system will have access to the Blackberry Storm and to Verizon’s V-Cast.

“All the products and services we’ve built our network for over the years, Alltel customers can get that,” Mango said.

Mango also tried to allay fears of Alltel customers about changes to their billing and their plans, if they don’t want them.

“Everyone kept their plan. Everyone’s plan was grandfathered,” he said. “There was a lot of angst over was their bill going to change, what was going to happen. Everybody was grandfathered. They didn’t have to change, unless they wanted to purchase the products and services that Verizon offered.”  

Verizon continually tests its network, Mango said. The carrier will be expanding its coverage and capacity.

“Every night, we’re working on towers,” he said.

Verizon also will be launching 4G next year and is the only company to have a license in every state to do so, Mango said.

“You’re going to get home DSL speed but through the air,” he said. “It’s going to make it mobile and global. Creativity will explode with what can be done through the air. It will take it to the next level.”

To show just how cell phones and their features have expanded and become widely used, Mango said there was on average one text message per month in 1994. On the Verizon network alone in the second quarter of 2009, there were 146 billion text messages sent.

The conversion from analog to digital signals for broadcast television also opened up more bandwidth for phones.

“That’s $9 billion, just for air,” Mango said.

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