Verizon Wireless announced on Friday that it has completed its acquisition of Alltel. Verizon paid $5.9 billion for the equity of Alltel and assumed all of Alltel’s approximately $22.2 billion in debt. Verizon will gain an additional 12.9 million customers, making Verizon the largest wireless carrier in the US with 83.7 million total customers. Verizon will maintain the Alltel brand and customers of Alltel will retain their current handsets and calling plans during the transition. Verizon will notify customers about changes that will impact future service so we assume at some point Alltel customers will have to forfeit their Alltel plan and select one of Verizon’s calling and/or data plans. Most customers will be able to keep their current handsets after the transition since both networks support the same CDMA technology. Verizon will also maintain Alltel’s existing GSM networks. Re-branding will begin in Q2 2009 and will continue through Q3 2009. No imminent layoffs were announced but the press release states:

Alltel employees below executive level will continue in their present jobs as Verizon Wireless assesses staffing needs required to best serve customers and achieve synergies.

When a company starts throwing around buzz words like “assess staffing needs” and “achieve synergies”, you can assume that layoffs will be announced at some point before the merger and re-branding is complete. As part of the conditions of the merger, Verizon Wireless will also divest overlapping properties in 105 markets that span 24 states and will affect nearly 2.1 million customers. When all is said and done, some of you will be leaving Verizon and a whole bunch of you will be joining Verizon. if you’re among those who will be affected, let us know in the comments if you are pleased, disappointed or ambivalent about the impending changes to your cellular service.