Urging the FCC to adhere to its scheduled vote on Verizon’s planned acquisition of Alltel, the companies warned the agency that, unless they receive the merger approval they seek, investors who took Alltel private last year would not be able to build out the regional carrier’s network as a consequence of ongoing malaise in worldwide credit markets. The proposed $28.1 billion transaction would make Verizon the nation’s largest wireless operator with more than 80 million subscribers. Last week, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin confirmed the circulation of a draft order among his fellow commissioners that recommends approval of the deal with conditions, agreed to voluntarily by Verizon, that would preserve current roaming agreements between Alltel and small rural carriers for the remaining term of those contracts or for two years, whichever is longer. The FCC is expected to hand down its decision at the agency’s open meeting on November 4. Despite continued pressure from small wireless carriers and public interest groups that want the FCC to postpone its merger vote until it acts on a separate pending rulemaking proposal that would overhaul the agency’s automatic roaming rules, Verizon and Alltel told the FCC that quick merger approval was needed as they cited “financial pressures from the ongoing credit crunch that has plagued the U.S. economy.” As a result, the merger parties claimed, “it will be difficult to raise the capital to make the necessary future investments in the company” on its own. Notwithstanding the tough market conditions, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg promised reporters that his company would complete the Alltel acquisition, as he declared: “this is an asset that’s going to be valuable to us for 20 or 30 years.”