AT&T Hangs Up On T-Mobile
AT&T’s high profile attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA ended today after the company acquiesced to the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, which had sought to block the deal on antitrust grounds. The acquisition was first announced in March of this year.
Per the terms of the deal, AT&T will pay $3 billion in cash to Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s owner, and turn over roughly $1 billion in wireless spectrum. The two companies said they would also enter into a roaming agreement.
In a written statement, Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s CEO, urged regulators to “allow the free markets to work so that additional spectrum is available to meet the immediate needs of the U.S. wireless industry… [and to] enact legislation to meet our nation’s longer-term spectrum needs” The company’s acquisition of unused Qualcomm spectrum is currently pending before the FCC.
The nation’s number three mobile operator, Sprint Nextel, issued a written statement praising the decision, commending the DOJ and FCC as well as state attorneys general “who gave voice to the concerns of consumers across the country.”
Both companies are back to square one. AT&T needs to acquire spectrum from other sources and Deutsche Telekom may still wish to sell T-Mobile USA or merge it with another, smaller mobile operator. In an internal memo sent to employees, the company’s CEO noted that the company now has “an opportunity to write our own future.”