Imagine living in an apartment complex. You’ve been there for a few years, and you generally like the layout. Rent is affordable, your kids go to good schools…in other words, there’s no good reason to move out. But then an apartment complex conglomerate comes and buys up your cozy complex. One day, when you’re at work, the come in and change everything around so it looks like their brand of apartment. Oh, and they raise rent. That’s kind of what’s going on with Alltel customers now that Verizon has bought the company. The assimilation process has begun. The switch starts in Virginia, as Alltel subscribers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Madison Heights, Martinsville, and South Boston were switched over the weekend. Their Alltel plans became equivalent Verizon plans. Yes, it would also appear the rent gets jacked, as the $39.99 plan from Alltel provided 500 minutes, while the same-priced plan from Verizon provides 450. Of course, both offer unlimited mobile to mobile, and Verizon’s is obviously more valuable. So at least customers are getting something for their increased rent. It’s also easy to lose amid this move that Verizon has adopted Alltel’s signature My Circle concept. They’ve rebranded it, of course, to Friends & Family, but it works the same way. Single-line customers can choose up to five out-of-network numbers, including landlines, to call for free. Family plans get up to 10. Of course, the deal isn’t as good as it was with Alltel. To qualify, single-line customers must have a plan of $59.99 or higher, and for family it is $89.99. This is up $10 and $5, respectively, from the Alltel minimums. Alltel also offered 10 My Circle numbers to single-line customers paying $59.99 per month. Other markets figure to follow in due time. Verizon has already switched over Alltel’s billing system, upgraded its wireless broadband service, and has re-purposed its stores. The only task left is to start moving people over. This figures to happen one market, or a cluster of small markets, at a time. There is no word on what markets will be next or when the move will take place. It shouldn’t be long, though, now that the ball has started rolling.