MobileCrunch and others are reporting that Sprint may be bought by T-Mobile.
For the Record- I prognosticated that one almost two years ago here on VoIPWatch, suggesting that the German owned operator was a better fit.
Now let me elaborate on the scenarios that I think would play out:
1) T-Mobile buys Sprint-plans to migrate to GSM/LTE
2) Verizon acquires a large chunk of CDMA spectrum from Sprint
3) Vodafone sells their interest in Verizon and buys the GSM/LTE spectrum from T-Mobile
The USA landscape for mobile looks like this in three years or so:
followed by a bunch of regional operators. Of all the operators listed, T-Mobile and Vodafone have far more experience in setting up "affiliate" partners, ala SFR in France which is a Vodafone affiliate, while T-Mobile is very good at understanding roaming and the sales of roaming spectrum, and creating MVNOs.
While AT&T and Verizon play protectionists in wanting to keep their turf (largely the corporate markets and lots of post paid customers) T-Mobile and Vodafone go in a different direction based on history.
T-Mobile, in gobbling up Sprint gets a lot of pre-paid business understanding, as the Sprint customer is usually a higher credit risk than the other operators in the USA's profile. Their global expertise in pre-paid as my Austrian experience tells me they get prepaid retail very, very well-in and out of the store in five minutes with Two SIMs including data and a dongle and similar experiences in the UK, make this an ideal market to tackle. Vodafone understands partnerships very well, and is perhaps the most savvy of the big global operators. In the USA, they will initially not worry about the corporate business, but will go after various niche markets with partners.
Conjecture? Sure it is. But let's see how the mobile world unfolds, as there is money in the markets and new players rising. If you look at MTS, Reliance, Balti and Tata in India and some of the other rising players in the Eastern European and Far East markets, you'll realize that the older line companies need to build up some defense territories in order to be in a position to also be the buyers in the future, not only the sellers.