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Cellphone consolidation begins?

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Last month, I had predicted that number portability will become cellular phone business’ Waterloo. Some will go out of business, and others will merge. In short consolidate. A few months earlier, in an article for Business 2.0 (Gulp) I had pointed out that there was a strong possibility of a merger of equals between AT&T Wireless and Cingular. Perhaps it is 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 either merge or acquire AT&T Wireless.

bq. 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.

Now 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 the WNLP. Here is what our friend Greg Gorbatenko of Loop Capital has to say.

bq. Nothing like getting the rumor mill cranking right before Christmas!ð 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.ð What do both have in common?ð Both have been talked about all year, but neither has happened.ð