And then there were four. Many of today's wireless companies started as offshoots from R&D labs in the 1980s, as landline companies were starting to take notice of the emerging technology. Over the years though, the wireless playing field has slowly been whittled down as acquisitions folded most wireless players into four major companies: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
We followed the history of those companies to their early days, highlighting some major events as they become full-fledged companies in their own right. Had the T-Mobile and Sprint merger gone through, we would have been left with only three, each controlling more than 100 million mobile connections.