With today's report that Sprint/Nextel is considering buying T-Mobile, we're converting our Fat Tuesday beads to Worry Beads. It does look like a slow but sure path of consolidation toward a "Big 2" in the wireless industry. This deal could be limited to T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsch Telekom, investing in Sprint's Clearwire network to give T-Mobile a 4G footprint.
Consolidation keeps on rolling whether this deal happens or not. We were saddened to hear that Cap Rock Cellular of west Texas has sold out to AT&T. AT&T already has extensive operations throughout the state, but when Verizon Wireless jumped ahead in west Texas with the Alltel acquisition, AT&T needed to act. They become another new player in west Texas and that just may be a positive change to the locals, but it's just one more step toward making the big ones too big. This marks the 5th small Texas carrier that AT&T has grabbed, with maybe just one left, XIT Cellular.
We thought the small telephone cooperatives would be a strong voice for local wireless service, but the smell of money is too strong. Coincidentally, Cap Rock purchased their wireline operations from Southwestern Bell, a predecessor of the current AT&T. Independence is fleeting. I hope reasonably-priced wireless isn't.