Summary:

The well of big regional carriers has almost dried up, so Verizon is looking to much smaller operators to acquire. It’s now targeting Mobi PCS and Golden State Cellular.

It’s been a busy season of acquisitions for Verizon. Earlier this month it announced it was buying Cincinnati Bell’s spectrum for $210 million, but it’s also got two more deals in the works, which would add airwaves to its spectrum portfolio in central California and Hawaii.

Verizon is buying Golden State Cellular, which serves Yosemite National Park and surrounding counties in California, and it has struck a deal with pan-Hawaiian carrier Mobi PCS to buy its spectrum. FierceWireless dug up Verizon’s FCC filings for both deals, which still require regulatory approval before becoming final.

Compared to the big sales of Leap Wireless to AT&T this year, MetroPCS to T-Mobile last year and Alltel to Verizon in 2009, these deals are tiny. But that’s because after all of these acquisitions there are few large regional carriers left from which to cherry pick.

There is only one regional carrier left, U.S. Cellular, with more than a million subscribers. In fact, companies like Cincinnati Bell Wireless are what amounts to large these days. Even though it has 340,000 subscribers, Strategy Analytics rates it the eight largest independent carrier in the U.S.

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