Rethink Wireless has a trolling piece out today about the potential changing landscape in the USA cellular/mobile marketplace.
I think we will see a MetroPCS/Leap (i.e. Cricket) link up next year and then a roll up of T-Mobile. Either that or first a roll up into Sprint, and then T-Mobile taking over Sprint and Vodafone buying what was T-Mobile.
Why? With LTE coming, everyone plays with the same technology, except for the WiMax world, which is where Sprint wants to head along with their biggest customers. The cable industry.
One has to remember that Sprint makes a ton of money on their data networks and just as AT&T is moving towards the ONE NETWORK approach, largely for the most lucrative market they have, the enterprise, so too will Sprint. In football parlance, you need both a good AIR game and a good GROUND game. The data networks are the GROUND game, while LTE and WiMAX are the AIR game.
Neither perennial powerhouse is going to disappear, but some of your mobile operators will.