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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 6, 2006 at 12:41 PM

Itsy bitsy Bell

Qwest, which serves 16 Western and Mountain states, including parts of Washington, will now be the smallest — by far — of the regional-phone empires if the $67 billion merger between AT&T and BellSouth is completed.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, the Denver-based company is also the only regional Bell company that doesn’t have its own wireless operation (it gets around this by selling wireless service provided by Sprint).

Those two facts make it a prime acquisition target, the Journal says. AT&T could find Qwest attractive because the company, which has a market capitalization of about $12 billion, would nearly complete AT&T’s geographic footprint. Verizon also could go after it, but some analysts are skeptical, because a deal with Qwest would bring Verizon little growth, yet load it up with more debt.

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