Sprint to buy or be bought as speculation mounts


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As only regulators stand between AT&T ( ATT ) becoming the U.S.' largest cell service following this past weekend's announcement that it will purchase T-Mobile, speculation is mounting that Sprint ( S ) is poised to make one of two moves.

CNN reports Sprint, the third-largest mobile service after Verizon ( VZ ) and AT&T ( T ), may either acquire smaller services or be acquired by Verizon. If not, Sprint will place a distant third should regulators approve the merger already signed off on by the boards of AT&T and T-Mobile, the fourth-largest provider.

"This is a very worrisome development for Sprint," Dan Hays, a partner with telecom industry consultancy PRTM, told CNN. "The most attractive option is for Verizon to decide that an acquisition is now viable."

According to eMarketer, Verizon's piece of the pie is more than 31 percent, AT&T has captured nearly 27 percent of the market, Sprint owns slightly more than 16 percent, and T-Mobile's niche is more than 12 percent, according to eMarketer. AT&T would leap ahead of Verizon with a market share of about 39 percent.

"I do have concerns that it would stifle innovation and that too much power would be in the hands of two" services, Sprint chief executive officer Dan Hesse said on Tuesday at an Orlando, Florida panel discussion at the CTIA Wireless Conference.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Business
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