AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile for $39B
Dallas-based AT&T, Inc., announced over the weekend that it has entered into an agreement to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $39 billion.
The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions. It is expected to close in about a year.
Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T has committed to expand its 4G LTE (long-term evolution) network to cover 95 percent of the U.S. population and reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans-including those in rural communities and small towns.
The company said in a news release that the move helps achieve the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and President Obama's goals to connect “every part of America to the digital age.”
T-Mobile had previously been in talks to merge with Sprint Nextel Corporation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“As we evaluated options for the T-Mobile USA business, two questions were foremost in our minds: What's best for Deutsche Telekom and what's best for T-Mobile USA? The transaction with AT&T is the answer to both questions,” Deutsche Telekom Chairman and CEO RenÅ½ Obermann said in an e-mailed statement.
The announcement of the deal has stirred up some criticism because it means that competition is being reduced, which could result in “higher prices, fewer choices, [and] less innovation,” Gigi Sohn, president of Washington D.C.-based public interest group Public Knowledge, said in a statement.
On Monday, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to the FCC and the Department of Justice asking the agencies to look into the acquisition to ensure that it does not limit competition and that consumers will not face higher prices or reduced services as a result of it.
“At a time when many Americans are using wireless phones as the sole means of telephone communication, it is vital that competition in the wireless market remain robust,” Klobuchar wrote in the letter. “That is why I urge you to take a close, hard look at this proposed acquisition and ensure that consumers are provided with adequate choice in the wireless market.”
To read more about the deal, which will make AT&T the largest wireless carrier in the United States, click here.