AT&T is now looking to buy carriers in Europe,
starting with the Dutch carrier
, which is part-owned by Carlos Slim, the world's richest man. Slim moved into Europe because of that continent's economic crisis, figuring assets would be cheap and could be re-sold at a profit.
Once a feeding frenzy like this begins, it's hard to stop. It's easy now to see Vodafone, which got Son into the business by selling its Japanese unit, being moved to combine with Verizon Wireless in a defensive move. The two companies are roughly the same size, but Verizon also owns a landline business that would likely be ditched, plus the old MCI long-distance and Internet core business, whose future would have to be evaluated. Figure Vodafone as the surviving entity.
Ideas like this would have sounded ridiculous even a year ago. But when the parts start moving, they tend to keep moving. The game for global telecommunications dominance is now afoot.
At the time of publication the author had positions in IBM and GOOG.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.