AT&T Is Said to Be Near Deal for BellSouth - New York Times: "A merger of two of the four remaining Bell phone companies would represent a huge step toward recreating the monopoly that existed in the phone business before the old AT&T was broken up in 1984.
A deal between AT&T and BellSouth could pressure Verizon to consider buying Qwest, the last of the four big Bell companies."
There's a fun section in the classic book "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" in which a young Bob Metcalfe gives a 1972 demo of ARPANET to the then powers-that-be at AT&T. The demo crashed. Quoting from p. 182 of the book:
"'I looked up in pain,' said Metcalfe, 'and I caught them smiling, delighted that packet-switching technology was flaky. This I will never forget. It confirmed for them that circuit-switching technology was here to stay, and that this packet-switching stuff was an unreliable toy that would never have much impact in the commercial world, and now they could go home to New Jersey. It was clear to me they were tangled up in the past.'"
The story continues a couple decades later, in David S. Isenberg's prophetic essay, "The Dawn of the Stupid Network".
The remaining telephony oligopolists may have been able to sustain themselves on wireless revenues as their traditional businesses faltered, but the trajectory remains the same.