Is the urge to merge afield?

Don’t look for a domino effect of M&A’s after Verizon’s buy of Alltel, analysts say, there’s too much pressure being applied on too many fronts for the Big Telcos to go shopping right now.

"When you talk about consolidation, people usually refer to those at the top end of the food chain," says Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. "There is not an easy deal to pull off, both from a technology perspective and regulatory perspective. It's hard to see the sense in it."

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Also: Are RLEC’s in play?

Rural local exchange carriers may be feeling a little pressure to consolidate as triple-play offerings from cable companies and increased line losses from customers switching to mobile phone cuts into revenue streams.

Analysts say companies like Windstream and Embarq could end up being major players in the M&A game. Both were created through tax-free spinoffs that limited their numbers of shares they could issue to raise capital. Embarq’s restriction ended last month and Windstream’s lifts July 18. Last month, Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner told analysts the company was open to buying other telcos if the deals allowed it to achieve better market scale and positioning. Stay tuned.

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