But does that make sense? AT&T, after all, is buying Time Warner because it wants content. It no longer wants to simply be a dumb pipe. For Verizon, a deal with Comcast might ultimately be more attractive given that it would combine a national wireless operator with a huge content company, NBCUniversal.

The lack of a wireless business has been the largest and most obvious hole in Comcast's operations, despite plans to start a wireless service later this year that cobbles together millions of its own Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces and peoples' homes with an agreement to use parts of Verizon's wireless spectrum.

"That deal makes real sense," Routh said. "Then you're talking complimentary services, and Comcast has content. Charter is a great business, but it has no content. If Verizon's goal is to compete with AT&T, then they need content, and Comcast is a much better fit  -- if Verizon could pull it off."

Comcast declined to comment. Verizon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Back before the FCC rejected Comcast's bid to buy Time Warner Cable in April 2015, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was making the case that a merger would go a long way toward resolving the biggest problem in U.S. communications: getting higher internet speeds into homes, especially in rural and lower-income homes. A company with greater scale, Roberts argued at the time, would be much better equipped to deliver next-generation high-speed broadband to households and businesses. 

Of course, that proposed deal was rejected by both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission on the grounds that a combined company would have far too much clout with advertisers and content producers such as CBS (CBS) and AMC Networks (AMCX) .

Conversely, a Comcast-Verizon deal would be similar to AT&T buying Time Warner: pipes plus content. In the same way that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson argues that buying Time Warner is a "vertical merger," Roberts could do the same with Verizon.

But that's if John Malone doesn't get in the way.

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