As part of the Alltel merger, Verizon Wireless was required to divest nearly $3 billion in wireless assets as shown in the dark blue and red areas in the map above. According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T is rumored to be one of three interested parties seeking to scoop up these soon-to-be-available markets. Other potential buyers include Providence Equity Partners LLC and a joint venture that includes the private-equity firms of Carlyle Group CYL.UL and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts & Co. Because of its strong financial position, AT&T could easily out bid these other investment groups and walk away with the lion’s share of these markets. Regulatory approval may stand in the way of AT&T’s rumored plans as the purchase of the divestitures must be approved by the DOJ. It is unclear whether the DOJ would approve such an acquisition by an already large wireless carrier such as AT&T. As of the writing of this post, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless have declined to comment on the rumors. Until these rumors are debunked, the question remains whether customers in these divested markets would be better served by a larger and more experienced wireless carrier like AT&T or a smaller firm such as one of the aforementioned.