Cellco Partnership (doing business as Verizon Wireless), a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, is the largest mobile network operator in the United States, providing wireless services to 102.8 million subscribers as of Q4 2013.
Headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the company was formed as a joint venture of American telecommunications firm Bell Atlantic (renamed Verizon Communications) and global British telecommunications company Vodafone.
Verizon Communications holds 100% percent ownership; Vodafone previously held 45% of what was a joint venture. On February 21st, 2014, Verizon purchased Vodafone’s 45% stake in the joint venture for $130 billion.
On April 3, 2000, Verizon Communications began operations as the result of the merger between Bell Atlantic Mobile and GTE. In September 1999, UK-based Vodafone AirTouch Plc. had announced a $90-billion joint venture with Bell Atlantic to establish a wireless service provider. The venture received regulatory approval in six months, and began operations as Verizon Wireless on April 4, 2000.
At the end of 2006, Verizon Wireless acquired West Virginia Wireless, a regional GSM cell phone company. On July 30, 2007, Rural Cellular Corporation (Unicel) announced it agreed to be acquired by Verizon Wireless (a CDMA cellular network technology carrier). Verizon said that it plans to convert RCC’s GSM customers to CDMA-based cellular technology, but will continue to operate RCC’s current GSM network in order to generate roaming revenue.
On September 2, 2013, Verizon Communications announced that it has agreed to buy out Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless in a deal valued at $130 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone would get $58.9 billion in cash, $60.2 billion in Verizon stock, and an additional $11 billion from smaller transactions. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.