A growing trend for mega-corps is to buy out relative mom and pop companies to expand. Specifically, in the cell phone industry, any company other than Verizon and ATT should fear a buyout. Local regional carriers are quickly becoming a thing of the past and we the consumers are the ones losing out.
The trend began way back when ATT was broken up into the "baby bells". The once mega-corp was split up to provide more competition in the market place. A quick glance at the industry will show that ATT has regained its stature except for a few of the baby bells but Verizon has also risen as a juggernaut.
ATT recently acquired Centennial Wireless and Verizon acquired Alltel Wireless but both are awaiting governmental clearance. While it is unlikely that either will be denied the acquisition because there is at least one other mega-carrier in the market, this diminishes competition for the consumer.
Verizon and ATT will continue to grow at phenomenal rates. With Sprint haemorrhaging customers it's only a matter of time until Verizon makes a bid for the "now network." ATT and Verizon are both in a head to head race to see who the biggest carrier is; both claim to be either the largest or the best but neither can claim both.
How does one grow in this market place? The simple answer is to purchase your competition. Verizon and ATT have huge bank rolls that allow them to simply dominate any regional carrier. The reason regional carriers are selling out is because they know in the long run they can't compete. New technologies such as LTE and WiMax require a massive amount of capital to update ones infrastructure, capital that regional carriers don't have. If you can't remain competitive on speed you have to lower your prices, lower prices means lower margins and lower net income.
The regional carrier is a dying breed compared to the mega national carriers. They will eventually all be bought out and this will diminish the amount of choices available for the consumer. Fewer choices means less competition and we all need the competition.