The top 5 most likely operator M&A hookups

m&aNow that regulators have finally approved Verizon Wireless' blockbuster $3.9 billion acquisition of AWS spectrum from four cable companies, it's natural to wonder what other hookups might be coming down the pike. We already know that AT&T has inked agreements to purchase most of the nation's WCS spectrum, but there are no doubt other major deals looming in the wireless industry's shadows. Sprint Nextel, MetroPCS and Leap Wireless are operators considered likely candidates for M&A action, but myriad combinations are possible. And the possibility of Dish Network and AT&T getting together certainly offers intriguing possibilities. The FierceWireless team has taken a look at the top five most likely matchups among U.S. wireless operators based upon discussions with a number of the industry's leading business and financial analysts. The list, which purely speculative, is ranked in order of likelihood, from the least likely to the most likely. Special Report