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And Then There Were Four

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today approved the merger of Sprint and Nextel. The merged company will be the 3rd largest national wireless company, behind Cingular and Verizon, and ahead of T-Mobile.

This is the 2nd major merger in wireless in the last year or so, coming on the heels of the Cingular acquisition of AT&T Wireless. Another merger, with Alltel taking over Western Wireless, recently closed, creating a large carrier covering a good number of smaller and rural locations.

We're not really sure what the implications of Sprint-Nextel merger will be. Nextel has been a leader in the two-way radio combined with cellular market, and thus has a very loyal following among business groups. At the same time, Sprint and Nextel use different technologies, so it isn't entirely clear how the two systems will be integrated.