CenturyLink rings the Tier 2 merger bell - Top Telecom M&As for 2009

While others may argue otherwise, the announcement of the much-smaller CenturyLink's bid to acquire EMBARQ last fall was possibly first real M&A shot heard around the tier 2 ILEC consolidation world.

A combination of the former EMBARQ and CenturyTel, CenturyLink finally came to fruition this past July when the two companies combined their resources with a new corporate logo and website. Through the merger, the newly minted ILEC now has a local and long-haul network that spans 33 states with 7,321,700 voice access line and over two million high-speed DSL connections.  In sizing up the two former companies, there were, of course, inevitable differences in approach to technology. On the technology side, CenturyLink been trialing video over DSL, EMBARQ lacks a wireless network and was content to look at OTT video deliver on FTTN. CenturyTel also owns 700 MHz wireless spectrum, while EMBARQ lacked any wireless assets.  

Regardless of whether or not CenturyLink does launch a wireless service, the combined operator has been quite vocal about offering wholesale backhaul bandwidth to wireless operators. And while there have been the inevitable early job cutsto probably weed out redundancy, the company says its integration work is on track. 

But as CenturyLink finishes this integration work, analysts and industry will probably start to wonder if the service provider's hunger for M&A may continue in 2010?

CenturyLink rings the Tier 2 merger bell - Top Telecom M&As for 2009