Can you say “Whoa?” Can you also say “Goodnight Sprint?” Check it out: Verizon is purchasing Alltel. They're dishing out $5.9 billion in cash and taking on another $22.2 billion in debt for a grand total of 28.1 billion dollars. This will make Verizon a bigger juggernaut than they already were and is all syngergistic and stuff:

Verizon Wireless expects to realize synergies with a net present value, after integration costs, of more than $9 billion driven by reduced capital and operating expense savings. Synergies are expected to generate incremental cost savings of $1 billion in the second year after closing. - [247 Wall Street]

...So much for my pipe dream of Alltel buying out Sprint, eh? Alltel has been rumored to have been fishing for a buyout from Verizon for a long time. Is this good or bad for Alltel's customers? They'll surely get better roaming, but Alltel has a reputation of offering quality, personal service to its customers? Will a giant like Verizon be able to do the same?

More details as Forbes, looks like the deal isn't a firm go yet and heaven only knows whether or not the FTC will allow it.

Thanks to Phil for the tip!