That will take capital, and having spent nearly one-third of its cash on Leap, it's an open question where that cash will come from.

The Daniels Report wrote in April that AT&T's finances are already stretched thin, with the wireline business declining, wireless gains unable to offset those losses, free cash flow dwindling and its defined pension plan a "ticking time bomb."

The price of meeting Masayoshi Son's ambition, Daniels concludes, may in the end be AT&T's pensions and dividends.

At the time of publication, the author owned no shares in companies mentioned here.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and a tech reporter since 1982. His specialty has been getting to the future ahead of the crowd, then leaving before success arrived. That meant covering the Internet in 1985, e-commerce in 1994, the Internet of Things in 2005, open source in 2005 and, since 2010, renewable energy. He has written for every medium from newspapers and magazines to Web sites, from books to blogs. He still seeks tomorrow from his Craftsman home in Atlanta.

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