AT&T-Alltel rumors gathering steam

The Wall Street Journal builds the case for the already rumored acquisition of Alltel by AT&T. Since AT&T Q1 net income nearly doubled thanks to a "breakneck acquisition binge" and the carrier just pulled out of talks for a stake in Telecom Italia, the WSJ thinks CEO Ed Whitacre has turned his full attention to Alltel. Whitacre hinted at future wireless acquisitions on the AT&T earnings call yesterday: "To the extent there are opportunities to strengthen our wireless business, which is a major source of growth, we will continue to look at opportunities there as well." Vague to be sure, but a previous WSJ article claimed the two were already in talks, and the newspaper pegs the potential deal's pricetag at less than $30 billion. And we all know Whitacre has swallowed bigger fish than that. An AT&T spokesman told FierceWireless that it does not comment on speculation.

For more on the rumor:
- see this article from WSJ