AT&T Inc.’s $1.2 billion deal to buy Leap Wireless International Inc. adds pressure on smaller competitors such as Sprint Corp. and Dish Network Corp. to bulk up through mergers and acquisitions of their own.
When AT&T Inc. halted unlimited wireless data plans this month, the company said 98 percent of smartphone users would save money with its new pricing. The savings may vanish for half its users by 2013, one analyst said.
Traders see growing risk in the debt of U.S. Cellular Corp., whose ability to compete with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. is hampered by the costs of subsidizing the pricier smartphones sought by consumers.
Dish Network Corp., the satellite-TV provider controlled by billionaire Charlie Ergen, topped Sprint Nextel Corp.’s bid for Clearwire Corp. in a move that may support its separate offer to purchase Sprint itself.
Verizon Wireless is doubling the size of smartphone data plans to compete for customers and save on capital spending for older wireless technology, Verizon Communications Inc. Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said.