Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 11:04 am.

Verizon and AT&T have grown like crazy over the past 5 years, while Sprint is flat

With 52 million subscribers, Sprint is now back around its 2006 size. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon have both grown by more than 50% since then, with around 100 million subs each. That’s the difference between good M&A (AT&T-BellSouth, Verizon-Alltel) and bad M&A (Sprint-Nextel).

And it’s fuel for the fire around Sprint’s loud opposition to AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. On one hand, an even-bigger AT&T will make Sprint even smaller, relatively speaking. On the other, it’s not like Sprint has been able to do much on its own besides tread water.