Sprint's other business remains undercover

There are so many rumors and possibilities swirling around Sprint Nextel these days: Could Sprint spin off Nextel? Could Sprint Nextel stay together, but spin off the Xohm WiMAX business? Will Sprint and Clearwire relaunch their aborted WiMAX partnership? Could Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile USA, acquire Sprint? Will Verizon Communications acquire Sprint? Will Google buy Sprint?

I won't add any new ones to the list, because I don't think it's humanly possible. DSL Reports already come up with the topper anyway.

What the rumors don't mention, and what no one seems to care about, (and yet, what we find ourselves caring about again) is what could or should happen to Sprint's wireline properties. Sprint's wireline business recently showed improved operating income, with a slight decline in revenue. The carrier has a global Internet backbone business, offers business DSL, wireline Ethernet and other IP services that are seeming to recede further into the shadows as the company's volatile wireless business produces one headline after another.

If a wireline/wireless giant such as Verizon or DT were to acquire Sprint, would they find reason to keep and invest in the wireline business? Are the wireline properties further spin-off material? That worked once already when Sprint spun off its local exchange unit as Embarq. In a global market where some companies are keying in on acquiring more backbone capacity and others are trying to rapidly add business market penetration and accounts, you would think Sprint's wireline assets might be a treasure to someone out there.

- Dan