Vodaphone's German headquarters
Vodaphone's German headquarters - 
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Renita Jablonski: Verizon Wireless and its British partner, Vodafone, are bidding to become the number one cell phone operator in the U.S. Talks are underway to take over Alltel with a price tag of nearly $30 billion. From London, Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The deal is complex. Three telecom companies, two private equity firms, and three investment banks are involved. That means plenty of opportunity for crossed wires and missed connections.

But if the takeover goes ahead, it will create a America's biggest cell phone provider. With around 80 million subscribers, the new group would easily overtake the current number one, AT&T.

Analysts say the deal looks good. The new group could save up to a billion dollars a year by combining operations. And for Vodaphone, the attractions are clear. The U.S. has a lot of potential growth -- 20 percent of Americans don't own a cell phone, while in many of Vodaphone's mature European markets there more cell phones than people.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.