T-Mobile USA still is in play, one might well conclude, in the wake of the failed AT&T bid to buy it. For starters, parent Deutche Telekom still has significant cash needs elsewhere, and some estimate T-Mobile USA might have to spend $9 billion to create a fourth generation Long Term Evolution network, at the same time it remains in what many would call a distant fourth position among the top four U.S. mobile operators.

There are reports the firm continues to employ investment bankers, a clear sign the firm is considering something that would require transactions.

The stated objectives seem to be a range of alternatives that would raise cash and shore up the firm’s position in the U.S. market, if only to maintain its attractiveness as an asset to be acquired by another firm.

That means several firms likely are in some state of play. In addition to T-Mobile USA, LIghtSquared has made moves suggesting it needs some new significant transaction to bridge a funding gap, at the very least.

Dish Network wants to build its own Long Term Evolution network as well. Dish has said it could be a buyer, but many also have speculated over the years that Dish could be acquired. The earlier discussions focused on Dish’s value as a video services supplier.

The latest round of thinking is that Dish’s potential value as a spectrum farm adds more value.

AT&T itself still needs more spectrum, and we are yet some ways before any spectrum auctions could help the company. So AT&T, which has for years been viewed as a potential Dish acquirer, once again is seen in that role, but this time for its spectrum assets.

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