updated 12/10/2008 7:20:55 PM ET 2008-12-11T00:20:55

The Federal Trade Commission has removed the last regulatory hurdle for Verizon Wireless' purchase of Alltel Corp., which will create the United States' largest wireless carrier, the agency said Wednesday.

The FTC's antitrust regulators approved an early termination of their antitrust review, indicating that they had no objections.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department have already signed off on the deal, with conditions that included the sale of some service areas.

Verizon executives had said earlier that they expect the deal to close before the end of the year. More recently, they've said it would close "as early as practicable," which could mean early next year.

Verizon Wireless is paying $5.9 billion and assuming $22.2 billion of Alltel's debt.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday, Verizon said it has received commitments from eight financial institutions to provide $17 billion of financing for the Alltel acquisition.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.

Alltel, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has a wide-ranging wireless network covering mainly the interior of the country. It is the fifth-largest carrier in the U.S.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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