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Optical/IP

Silly Season Gets Serious

July the 4th traditionally marks the onset of silly season in our corner of the media. The major trade shows are done and dusted and big companies are expected to have announced all their big news by now. It is the season for the hapless journalist to write stories about wireless in space or the face of Elvis mysteriously etched into an iPhone.

But it seems like silly season is getting serious this year, at least in the world of wireless. For starters, the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone -- as overexposed as it is -- has focused mainstream attention on the many different aspects of the U.S. cellular market. (See The iPhone Arrives.)

Meanwhile, the acquisitions keep coming: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) bought Dobson Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: DCEL) this week; the Australian Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group is buying its way into the American market with the planned acquisition of Global Tower Partners for $1.4 billion, and Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. has taken a stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL). (See Temasek Buys Stake and The iPhone Arrives.)

Basically, this year has seen the mobile M&A scene blown wide open. Private equity has gotten involved in a big way and foreign firms are also far more active in the U.S. than they once were. No longer can we expect the money and buyouts to stay inside the neat little lines that once mapped out niche wireless sectors.

So, what's next? How about a large networking company buying a cellular handset vendor. That's just one suggestion I've heard recently. A couple of years ago that may have seemed like a remote possibility at best, but these days... Well, you'd be remiss if you completely dismissed the idea.

In the meantime, have a happy Fourth, and we'll see you over the hump.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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