Paulson and Co. happens to be the third largest holder in Leap Wireless, which is being acquired by AT&T for $1.2 billion. That deal could lead some of the major carriers to take another look at consolidation. T-Mobile had been considered a possible buyer for Leap Wireless after seeing its stock rise 50% since May. That gives it a currency to use for acquisitions, and with Leap's shares continuing to trade above AT&T's bid of $15 a share, Wall Street is expecting another player to come into the deal with a higher price.
Meanwhile, Dish has been thwarted not once but twice in an effort to gain spectrum in order to start a new wireless carrier. Dish lost out to SoftBank after offering to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion, and was outbid by Sprint for Clearwire. Charles Ergen and his company should be seen as armed and dangerous in this game of consolidation in the mobile operator industry.