To alleviate antitrust concerns raised by the Justice Department (DOJ), Verizon Wireless said Monday that it has agreed to divest overlapping assets in 85 markets as part of its planned $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel Corp. The proposed union of Alltel—the nation’s fifth largest mobile phone carrier with 13 million customers—and Verizon would catapult Verizon to the top of the U.S. wireless sector, ahead of current market leader AT&T. In a filing with the FCC, Verizon disclosed its plan to sell overlapping assets throughout the states of North Dakota and South Dakota and in portions of 16 other states. Asserting that the goal of the divestiture is to assure “no loss of competition in any of these markets,” Verizon told the FCC that “the specific spectrum, operations, and other assets that will be divested in each market will be determined as part of ongoing discussions with the [DOJ].” Noting that the list of assets to be sold could be expanded as negotiations with the DOJ progress, Verizon said the expected end result would be that “approximately 15% of Alltel’s total customers will be divested.” To “avoid uncertainty among regional, small and rural carriers as to whether their customers can continue to roam without interruption following the closing of the merger,” Verizon further pledged to enable any such carrier that has signed a roaming agreement with Alltel to keep established rates in force for the full term of that agreement “notwithstanding any change of control or termination for convenience provisions that would give Verizon Wireless the right to accelerate the termination of such agreement.” Any small, regional or rural carrier that has roaming agreements with both Verizon and Alltel would also be able to elect the agreement of either company to govern post-merger roaming.