AT&T's hungry eyes turning toward Leap, Dish or MetroPCS?

Publicly, at least, AT&T is bursting at the seams as it runs out of space to put all of its customers. The failed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile was all about trying to match (or better) Verizon's reserves of wireless spectrum. Given the FCC's blocking of LightSquared and stymieing of future spectrum auctions for the time being, AT&T needs to make some more acquisitions -- the $1.9 billion purchase of Qualcomm's small slice of the airwaves isn't enough. If the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, there's a whiteboard in Whitacre Tower with Dish, Leap and MetroPCS written all over it. Reportedly, a purchase of Leap is the nearest to fruition, with "under the table" talks already underway. However, the Cricket Wireless operator would only provide a short-term solution to Ma Bell's very long-term woes. The other big target is Dish Network's reserved spectrum, kept back for its own planned broadband network, but if it fails to get Government approval, it might look to offload it. Third on the roster and marked as "highly unlikely" is a purchase of MetroPCS. The carrier was bitterly opposed to the T-Mo merger and pouted at the idea of purchasing some of Big Blue's divested assets, so if those two met around a table, they'd have a lot of awkward apologizing to do.

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