"...the coming consolidation in telecom could benefit the Bells. As long-distance profits continue to collapse, thanks to vicious price wars, companies such WorldCom become more attractive takeover targets. Indeed, for an outfit that could stomach taking on WorldCom's $30 billion in debt, buying that troubled giant would be an easy way into the corporate long-distance business. Qwest [formerly U S West], which has spent billions building fiber networks, also will likely be rolled into one of the three stronger Bells, bringing wider long-distance and data capabilities to its new owner."
Nobody wants T's rickity old network...even with it lower debt load.