Last month, I had predicted that number portability will be the wireless industry's Waterloo. Some carriers will go out of business, and others will merge. In short, there's going to be consolidation. A few months earlier, in an article for Business 2.0 I had pointed out that there was a strong possibility of a merger between AT&T Wireless and Cingular. So it's a delight to see the same news appear on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, which is reporting that Cingular is contemplating going public and then merging or acquiring AT&T Wireless:
At Cingular, there is strong momentum building for both an acquisition or an IPO," one of the people said. "This is more than just running scenarios." Representatives of Cingular, SBC, BellSouth and AT&T Wireless declined to comment.
As a word of caution, these merger stories appear quite often and with regularity. However, this time it might be true, for both Cingular and AT&T Wireless are getting pounded by number portability. Here is what our friend Greg Gorbatenko of Loop Capital has to say:
Nothing like getting the rumor mill cranking right before Christmas! It's being reported that Cingular may be looking to conduct an IPO next year and possibly acquire/merge with another wireless company, namely AT&T Wireless. It seems like we've been hearing about industry consolidation about as much as the 'Bennifer' wedding. What do both have in common? Both have been talked about all year, but neither has happened.