Although Verizon got the last word, Alltel's CEO, Scott Ford, reveals that Alltel "tried to buy Sprint three times, tried to buy AT&T Wireless [and] tried to buy T-Mobile." He added that "some of those times it went with partners, [while] some of those times it didn't." Essentially, Alltel was "doing everything it could to get to a national platform."
You can get all the sordid details at mocoNews.
Source: mocoNews via engadget