T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom (DT), picked up SunCom Wireless today for $1.6 billion plus $800 million in debt (PDF release). The acquisition will allow the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier grow its subscriber base–SunCom has about 1.1 million subscribers, mostly in the South, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands–and save on roaming fees. This is the latest in a series of acquisitions between a big, nationwide carrier and a small, regional players, and it won’t be the last.
Other wireless carriers prime for acquisition: Chicago-based U.S. Cellular (AMEX:USM, 6 million subs, $8.5B equity market cap), Wall, N.J.-based Centennial Communications (CYCL, 1 million subs, $1B equity market cap), and Jackson, Miss.-based Cellular South (private). Leap Wireless (LEAP) just rejected a $4.7 billion takeover bid from MetroPCS (PCS).