We were joking the other day that as soon as Cingular completed the deal for AT&T Wireless, that suddenly we were seeing a lot more mentions of Alltel, as if the press simply needed a sixth carrier to round out its list of carriers -- even if it wasn't national. So, I was wondering, if Sprint Nextel goes through, who else will get elevated to the "sixth spot" in carrier discussions. Of course, there may need to be two new companies, as rumors are now starting to fly that Verizon Wireless might want to buy Alltel, just to keep up with the Joneses. It would basically be a customer buy, but would quickly allow Verizon to leapfrog Cingular in customers faster than if they just let their marketing (and Cingular's integration problems) take their natural course. Derek adds: For more on why I don't think this will happen, and on how there is much more than meets the eye to the US CDMA carrier business, see the comments below.
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