Sprint announced plans for its $35B merger with Nextel on 12/15/2004. (It ended up costing much, much more than that as Sprint ended up buying most affiliates due to litigation, including Nextel Partners for $6.5B)
Sprint then spunoff its wireline business - naming it EMBARQ - when there was still plenty of value left there. In fact, as the 4th largest ILEC, it would have been a great base to use for FMC strategy. One of the reasons that Sprint was the 3rd largest LD carrier, I think, was due to that base of over 2M local customers.
Two years later, most of the more profitable Nextel clients have left. The billing systems are still not integrated. (I have a Sprint PCS account and a Nextel account -- and cannot get them combined still!).
Even though Sprint has a large Internet backbone, its mainly cable and Embarq that uses it.