Which US regional operator will be the next to get snapped up, and how far can such M&A change the competitive environment now?

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

July 15, 2013

1 Min Read
Smaller US Operators to Become Spectrum Snacks?

What a difference a year makes.

With the successful completion of major mergers by Sprint and T-Mobile US, the top echelon of the U.S. mobile market appears to be more competitive than it has been in a while.

This might directly affect the smaller American operators, too, though. It seems possible that AT&T Inc.'s $1.2 billion bid for Leap Wireless could precipitate a spectrum snatch by the larger service providers.

Our readers are already speculating on which other smaller operators could be bought up. U.S. Cellular is an early name in the frame.

Options to buy quickly dwindle though. There just aren't that many large independent regional U.S. wireless operators left now. Other possibilities, however, include C Spire, Cincinnati Bell and Ntelos. C Spire for instance -- formerly Cellular South -- is estimated to have fewer than a million subscribers.

After Leap, there's no quick way for any of the big four to add mass amounts of customers and spectrum by buying smaller rivals. I suspect that some of the smaller operators will get snatched up, but big operators are going to have to look for other ways to compete and innovate.

What's your bet for the next regional operator to get bought up?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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