Bernie Ebbers conviction is rather anticlimatic coming years after the telecom bubble burst. That said, the havoc wreacked not just through MCI but the whole telecom sector by what was going on at MCI cannot be understated. It takes collective 'irrational exuberance' to make a bubble, but Ebbers's fraudulent statements went a long way toward ratifying what people wanted to believe and hence inflating the bubble.
Counter-factual history is an innocent speculative dalliance, and it is interesting to speculate what the landscape would look like had GTE ended up with MCI, rather than Worldcom. That would have forestalled the GTE-Verizon merger and made for an interesting combination and set of business incentives (particularly with the estimable and combative Bill Barr as GTE/MCI's general counsel). Alas, that was not to be, and a number of investors and good people at MCI in particular got burned by Ebbers.
In a related story, another notorious telecom bubble figure is being sued for civil fraud. That clucking sound would be chickens coming home to roost; either that, or it's the ghost of Colonel Sanders talking to me again...11 herbs and spices...mmmmm.