With the acquisition of Alltel in early 2009, Verizon Wireless now provides service to millions more customers across the United States on its own network. The merger created an enhanced platform of network coverage, spectrum and customer care to better serve the growing needs of both Alltel and Verizon Wireless customers for basic voice and advanced broadband wireless services. Our wireless network coverage now reaches approximately 288 million people - nearly the entire U.S. population - and our wireless customer base has increased to more than 80 million subscribers, making us the largest wireless carrier in the country.
Both Alltel and Verizon Wireless have long track records of delivering a high-quality customer experience in the marketplace, and the combination of the two companies will continue to improve on that heritage. Customers of both companies now have access to the country's largest mobile to mobile calling community. Alltel customers also will benefit from an expanded range of products and services, including a premier lineup of wireless devices and access to the nation's largest 3G high-speed wireless broadband network.
The transaction puts the Alltel markets and customers on a path to advanced 4G services as Verizon Wireless deploys LTE technology throughout its network over the next several years. In addition, Alltel's customers will reap the benefits of Verizon Wireless' Open Development initiative, which welcomes third-party devices and services on the Verizon Wireless network.
The acquisition also provides opportunities for enhanced value for our shareowners. Both companies use a common network technology, which provides advantages of a seamless transition for Alltel customers, ease in integrating the two companies' networks, and scale efficiencies in operating the larger integrated network.