First they said, Verizon is going to acquire Alltel. When that did not happen, Alltel decided that it needed to go shopping and grow bigger. So it is now said to be making a $4 billion plus bid for another regional player, Western Wireless. Together, the two companies could have sales of $10 billion and about 9.8 million subscribers. “It’s not clear how critical it is for Verizon to acquire customers in rural regions,” Tom Watts, an industry analyst at SG Cowen told The New York Times and added, “The roaming partners are already under constant pressure from Verizon to lower their rates. And there’s less money spent in rural areas, so going rural doesn’t seem to be the right strategy for Verizon.” Regular reader Charlie Sierra wrote in an email, VZW has a very deep relationship with Alltel, they pioneered the “near-cost” roaming agreement strategy, and they barely overlap geographically.” In other words, once the Alltel and Wester Wireless close the deal, Verizon could make a move of its own.