Cusick told clients that the mobile carrier industry still needs to consolidate or else "companies like Sprint, Leap and MetroPCS could struggle." He added that a "re-invigorated T-Mobile USA could be a consolidator over time or a driver of price competition and eroding cash flow." He also sees AT&T buying back $4 billion of its shares to keep the company's debt/equity ratio constant next year. The analyst told clients that he sees AT&T's profit margins under pressure from smartphones, specifically the Apple iPhone. High subsidies for new phones are cutting into AT&T's profit margins"
Other forecasts made by Cusick include AT&T purchasing more spectrum in the near-term from MetroPCS and Leap Wireless, and in the long term from Dish Networks and Clearwire. The carrier is seeking government approval to close a previous deal to buy spectrum from Qualcomm and last night urged the government to allow the deal to be completed. T-Mobile, according to the analyst, is having problems without having the Apple iPhone in its lineup. Besides a possible partnership with Dish Networks, which we previously reported on, adding 4G service from LightSquared or Clearwire is a possibility. He sees the nation's fourth largest carrier getting aggressive in both pre-paid and post-paid offerings.