AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile would create largest U.S. carrier
Deal will face tough federal scrutiny
Computerworld - AT&T plans to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in cash and stock, easily making AT&T the nation's largest wireless carrier, ahead of top-ranked competitor Verizon Wireless, and reducing the number of major national wireless carriers from four to three.
Consumer groups are sure to object because of concerns over market consolidation and less competition, but some analysts said the deal makes sense and won't lead to higher prices. Rumors circulated last year that T-Mobile was expected to be sold, possibly to third-place Sprint, so AT&T's emergence was somewhat of a surprise.
AT&T buys T-Mobile USA: Monopoly merger mania
The deal, announced on Sunday by both AT&T and T-Mobile's parent, Deutsche Telekom, has been approved by the boards of both companies. Under the deal, Deutsche Telekom would receive an 8% equity stake in AT&T and a board seat.
The transaction is expected to close in 12 months, the companies said. It is subject to federal regulatory approval, where it will undoubtedly receive close scrutiny, given its size and impact on the competitive landscape. A conference call on the agreement is set for 8 a.m. EDT Monday.
AT&T said the deal will add T-Mobile's 34 million customers to AT&T's 95.5 million total subscriber base (as of the end of 2010), enabling a quicker expansion of 4G LTE wireless networks to the entire subscriber group of about 130 million. In comparison, Verizon had 94.1 million subscribers at at the end of 2010, although Verizon and AT&T count them somewhat differently.
Some analysts lauded the deal, even though consumer groups are expected to question having more subscribers under the control of a single carrier.
"Bigger is better in a commodity game," said Phillip Redman, an analyst at Gartner who follows the wireless carriers. "Four providers were too many. This may help [third-place] Sprint as it becomes the standalone low-cost provider, and it makes more sense than a Sprint-T-Mobile deal."
Redman said the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission will both "take a hard, long look at it, but in the end, it will be approved." With three major providers -- Verizon, AT&T and Sprint -- Redman added, "I think there is plenty of competition. This is the last of the big mergers" in the wireless industry.
The companies sought to deflect concerns about reduced competition with the combination of two large carriers, noting in a statement: "The U.S. wireless industry is one of the most fiercely competitive markets in the world and will remain so after this deal. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where a large majority of consumers can choose from five or more wireless providers in their local market. ...The competitiveness of the market has directly benefited consumers."
- BlackBerry pushes BBM Protected for end-to-end encrypted messaging
- Can Microsoft's Windows Phone OS surge in market share?
- HTC One M8 called a good looker and genuine rival to the Galaxy S5
- Smartphone innovation is slowing, so what's next?
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!