AT&T's dead T-Mobile takeover: from beginning to end

AT&T and Deutsche Telekom announced early in 2011 an agreement to transfer ownership of T-Mobile USA in a $39 bilion deal. This proposed merger of two of the biggest US carriers would have created a de facto GSM monopoly for AT&T, which is why it was subjected to intense scrutiny from the likes of the FCC and Department of Justice.

After much wrangling with the regulators, AT&T finally relented in December 2011, putting an end to a saga of sometimes comical, oftentimes absurd arguments by paying Deutsche Telekom a $4b settlement fee due to the non-completion of the merger. That amount includes $3 billion in cold hard cash and $1b in spectrum allocation.

Major Updates

  • Update
    28 over 2 years ago 12

    FCC approves T-Mobile and AT&T spectrum transfer

    The FCC has finally approved the spectrum transfer that was part of a $4 billion breakup fee that AT&T promised to T-Mobile if the companies failed to merge. Following AT&T's decision to call off the acquisition in December of last year, the two companies applied in Janurary to the FCC to get the green light for the spectrum transfer. The spectrum, which is estimated to be worth $1 billion, is in the AWS band and it covers 128 cellular market areas. Be sure to check this map to see where AT&T...

    Continue reading »

    The breakup is final
  • Update
    27 over 2 years ago 22

    T-Mobile reportedly pursuing tower sale for up to $3 billion

    T-Mobile is apparently looking to do whatever it can in order to raise enough money to continue on as an independent entity. In addition to massive job cuts, Bloomberg reports that the company intends to sell a large number of cell towers, as many as $3 billion worth, as quickly as possible. The move will bring in more cash on top of the $4 billion in cash and spectrum it received in the wake of AT&T's failed takeover. T-Mobile told All Things D that it was evaluating a "tower sale as part of...

    Continue reading »

    Is T-Mobile selling its kidneys to buy a dialysis machine?
  • Update
    26 over 2 years ago 67

    AT&T rubs salt in T-Mobile's wound after layoff announcement, slams FCC

    AT&T has shown an enormous amount of swagger throughout the entire story arc of its merger attempt with T-Mobile USA, much of which has come directly from the mouth and pen of Jim Cicconi, AT&T's EVP of external and legislative affairs (pictured above, far right); it got to the point during the merger proceedings, in fact, that the FCC said it was "deeply concerned."

    But today's comments by Cicconi on AT&T's Public Policy Blog regarding T-Mobile's announced layoffs border on the bizarre,...

    Continue reading »

    Decisions have consequences.
  • Update
    25 over 2 years ago 20

    T-Mobile USA details LTE 'challenger strategy': $4b investment, but more spectrum still needed

    Having announced earlier that it intends to launch LTE service next year, T-Mobile USA is now going into a little more detail on how it plans to make that happen. In a press release talking about its "challenger strategy," the company says that it'll invest some $4 billion into network upgrades — $1.4 billion of which will happen in the next two years — to achieve LTE service in the "vast majority" of the top 50 markets by 2014, with a faster 20MHz-thick slice of LTE operational in...

    Continue reading »

    T-Mobile needs a little luck to pull this off
  • Update
    24 over 2 years ago 66

    AT&T posts $6.7b loss despite record-setting smartphone sales in Q4 2011: 7.6m iPhones sold, Android sales growing

    AT&T just released its Q4 2011 financial results, and the failed T-Mobile buyout combined with other charges means the carrier lost some $6.7b for the quarter — the carrier had to pay T-Mobile that $4b breakup fee, plus hand over $1b in spectrum after the FCC and DOJ combined to kill the proposed merger. AT&T also had to account for modified pension accounting, which made up the rest of the loss.

    Ignoring that mess, things are going pretty well: AT&T added 717,000 subscribers and sold a...

    Continue reading »

    T-Mobile merger fallout overshadows AT&T's best smartphone quarter ever
  • Update
    23 over 2 years ago 48

    T-Mobile's new spectrum: a map of what AT&T is giving up

    While we all wait for the FCC to approve the spectrum transfer that's a result of AT&T's failed bid to purchase T-Mobile, GigaOM has posted a map created by reader Andrew Shepherd of exactly where that spectrum will be. AT&T dropped large blocks in California, Arizona, and the Seattle area, Shepherd found, but also understandably made sure to keep enough spectrum in key areas to ensure its LTE network wouldn't be significantly hurt. If you're a T-Mobile customer in one of the highlighted...

    Continue reading »

    T-Mobile to get $1 billion in spectrum
  • Update
    22 over 2 years ago 33

    AT&T and T-Mobile apply to FCC for approval of $1 billion spectrum transfer

    According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T and T-Mobile have entered an application to the FCC to approve the transfer of $1 billion worth of AWS spectrum to the number-four US wireless carrier. The transfer should tie up the remaining loose ends following AT&T's bid to purchase T-Mobile, which was called off in mid-December. In addition to the spectrum, AT&T agreed to give up $3 billion in cash and a seven-year 3G roaming agreement as part of the break-up fee. While we're sure T-Mobile is...

    Continue reading »

    “We hope the FCC will move swiftly to approve the license assignments.”
  • Update
    21 over 2 years ago 61

    Deutsche Telekom on failure of AT&T / T-Mobile deal: 'There's no Plan B'

    Though it's got to be pleased about the $4 billion parting gift it's getting — $3 billion in cash and another roughly $1 billion in AWS spectrum — Deutsche Telekom appears to have been caught a bit flat-footed in the wake of AT&T's failed bid to acquire T-Mobile USA. Speaking to reporters today, DT chief René Obermann notes that "we have a better chance of expanding the network in many markets" thanks to the some 128 markets of AWS licenses that T-Mobile is receiving (plus a seven-year 3G...

    Continue reading »

    We're back at the starting point.
  • Update
    20 over 2 years ago 36

    T-Mobile to get seven-year 3G roaming deal, 128 markets of AWS spectrum from AT&T

    Deutsche Telekom now is detailing the consolation prize it's getting from AT&T in the aftermath of its failed acquisition of T-Mobile — and in looking through the details, calling it a "consolation prize" really doesn't do it justice. The German telecommunications giant will be receiving a cash payment of $3 billion, which we now know will be going directly toward paying off DT's debt — it seems that T-Mobile USA itself won't see a dime of it — but the carrier will be taking delivery of...

    Continue reading »

    Is this the outcome T-Mobile USA really wanted?
  • Update
    19 over 2 years ago 171

    AT&T kills T-Mobile merger plans, will pay Deutsche Telekom $4b breakup fee

    AT&T has officially announced this afternoon that it has dropped its plans to merge with competitor T-Mobile. The news comes on the heels of rumors earlier today that the deal had all but fallen apart. The company will now pay a total of $4 billion to Deutsche Telekom as a breakup fee — $3 billion in cash plus about a billion in spectrum — and the two carriers will agree to a roaming deal which will allow devices for each network to work on the other (we've already heard some evidence of...

    Continue reading »

    The government's objections were just too much to overcome, it seems
  • Update
    18 over 2 years ago 14

    AT&T struggling to divest itself of enough assets to take over T-Mobile, reports the WSJ

    One of AT&T's more reasonable ideas for convincing US regulators that its takeover of T-Mobile would be good for competition was for the company to sell off some of its assets as a precondition to closing its merger deal. Alas, as the Wall Street Journal reports this morning, talks between AT&T and potential suitors for those assets appear to have cooled off, with AT&T apparently preferring to look at other options — such as a partial takeover of T-Mo or a joint venture with the Deutsche...

    Continue reading »

    AT&T may finally be waking up to the fact that its acquisition of T-Mobile isn't going to happen
  • Update
    17 over 2 years ago 7

    AT&T asks for stay in T-Mobile court proceedings until January 18th to 'evaluate all options'

    AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have just asked the judge overseeing proceedings in their T-Mobile acquisition case with the Department of Justice that they would like to hold off on any further action until January 18th "to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options." The DOJ joined in the filing, so it would seem that everyone is in agreement here — pending some unusual action on the part of the judge, the request is likely to be granted, particularly considering her previous indication...

    Continue reading »

    Just what options are on the table at this point?
  • Update
    16 over 2 years ago 15

    DOJ seeking postponement in AT&T / T-Mobile acquisition case

    Since AT&T has formally withdrawn its application, it was an open question whether the Department of Justice would press on with its lawsuit to block the company's proposed purchase of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom — a lawsuit with an "expedited" trial scheduled to begin on February 13th of next year. A DOJ lawyer just answered that question today, telling a federal judge that it will ask that the case either be stayed or withdrawn entirely until AT&T re-files a new application with the FCC....

    Continue reading »

    We're not playing some strategic game.
  • Update
    15 over 2 years ago 12

    AT&T on T-Mobile purchase: 'we will continue to pursue the sale'

    Seemingly undeterred by the Department of Justice's pending lawsuit and the FCC's scathing report, AT&T sounded defiant at a UBS conference today with CFO John Stephens insisting that the company is still preparing to take T-Mobile USA off Deutsche Telekom's hands. And those aren't just empty words, either — Stephens points out that it has $10 billion in cash set aside right now with another $28 billion in financing and reserves waiting on standby so it can "close the deal very quickly."

    Next...

    Continue reading »

    One way or the other, AT&T has billions riding on this
  • Update
    14 almost 3 years ago 55

    FCC consumer affairs chief 'deeply concerned' by AT&T's report comments

    The war of words in the wake of AT&T's withdrawn application to buy T-Mobile USA continues to escalate this afternoon. As a government agency, we'd figured the FCC might take the high road by not responding to AT&T's rebuttal this morning — but it wasn't to be. The Commission's chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Joel Gurin, relayed a message via the FCC's official Twitter account:

    As a refresher, Jim Cicconi is AT&T's senior executive VP of external and legislative...

    Continue reading »

    It's AT&T versus the government, and Twitter is the arena
  • Update
    13 almost 3 years ago 26

    AT&T issues fierce rebuttal to FCC's report on T-Mobile buy: 'the document lacks all credibility'

    Released earlier this week, the FCC's report on AT&T's scuttled application to pick up T-Mobile USA for $39 billion called out the carrier at almost every opportunity. AT&T had already made it crystal clear that it didn't appreciate the report being released — it had attempted to withdraw its application last week, perhaps partly in an effort to stave off the release — but now it's going into more detail in a lengthy, angrily-worded rebuttal of some of the FCC's claims, bordering on outright...

    Continue reading »

    The report cherry-picks facts to support its views, and ignores facts that don’t.
  • Update
    12 almost 3 years ago 28

    WSJ: AT&T, T-Mobile mulling joint venture if acquisition bid fails

    Looking at the rumor mill the past few days, it seems that AT&T is weighing pretty much all of its options in light of its paused attempt to buy T-Mobile USA off of current parent Deutsche Telekom. The latest possibility comes from WSJ, which is reporting that AT&T and DT have discussed a joint venture should an acquisition bid ultimately fail — a partnership that would see the two companies pool their infrastructure together. Details are scarce at this point, but it seems likely that the end...

    Continue reading »

    For AT&T, is a joint venture the next best thing?
  • Update
    11 almost 3 years ago 5

    AT&T responds to the FCC's negative report on the T-Mobile deal, questions why it was released

    AT&T's senior executive VP of external and legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi, released a brief statement in response to the FCC's damning report yesterday:

    The FCC has recognized that it is required by its own rules to dismiss our merger application. This makes all the more troubling their decision to nonetheless release a preliminary staff report on the merger. This report is not an order of the FCC and has never been voted on. It is simply a staff draft that raises questions of fact that...

    Continue reading »

    The war of words rages on
  • Update
    10 almost 3 years ago 96

    FCC report slams AT&T's proposal to buy T-Mobile: the highlights

    Although AT&T has withdrawn its application to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion while it regroups and evaluates its options, the FCC isn't letting it go without a spanking: the Commission and its staff have released a 109-page report this week laying out findings based on the merger documentation that had been filed back in April. Not interested in poring through some of the driest literature on the planet? We can't say we blame you — so we've boiled down the key facts, figures, and quotes....

    Continue reading »

    The FCC rips nearly every aspect of AT&T's filing
  • Update
    9 almost 3 years ago 15

    WSJ: FCC will approve AT&T's withdrawal of T-Mobile deal

    After some back-and-forth in the prior days about whether the FCC would let the AT&T quietly undo its massive, $39 billion proposal to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom, WSJ is reporting this afternoon that the FCC's commissioners are indeed signaling that they'll let the matter go. Why is that significant? For one thing, it clears out the looming hearing that could further hurt AT&T's chances of putting a deal together, and — as AT&T has stated — it helps them concentrate on dealing...

    Continue reading »

    It's not over yet
  • Update
    8 almost 3 years ago 46

    AT&T trying to save T-Mobile merger by selling customers and spectrum to Leap Wireless, says NYT

    The AT&T / T-Mobile merger story is starting to veer into faintly ridiculous territory: first Bloomberg reported that AT&T was considering selling off up to 40 percent of T-Mo in order to appease the regulators at the DOJ and FCC who oppose the deal, and now the New York Times says the most likely suitor is Leap Wireless. That's tiny, tiny Leap Wireless, which has about seven million no-contract customers on its Cricket and Jump Mobile brands — that's compared to something like 33 million for...

    Continue reading »

    Things are getting desperate for AT&T
  • Update
    7 almost 3 years ago 34

    Bloomberg: AT&T to offer to sell 'as much as 40 percent' of T-Mobile to get merger approved

    In the wake of AT&T's oddly-timed FCC withdrawal yesterday of its proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom, a Bloomberg report this afternoon claims that there's already a Plan B in the works: heavy divestiture. Bloomberg's source says that AT&T may resubmit its proposal with plans to sell off as much as 40 percent of T-Mobile USA's assets — a figure that would probably include a combination of spectrum, infrastructure, and subscribers — though there's no information as...

    Continue reading »

    AT&T may be regrouping, not giving up
  • Update
    6 almost 3 years ago 128

    AT&T pulls T-Mobile application from FCC, records provisional $4bn loss

    The FCC's decision to request a formal administrative hearing into AT&T's proposed takeover of T-Mobile USA has caused the US carrier to take drastic action: AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have just announced that they're withdrawing their pending approval applications with the FCC. This is not to say that the companies are quitting on the deal, they specifically assert that they're "continuing to pursue the sale" of DT's US wireless assets, however AT&T's other move today is almost as...

    Continue reading »

    AT&T is having to heed its own slogan of rethink possible
  • Update
    5 almost 3 years ago 63

    FCC says AT&T / T-Mobile merger not in the public interest, requests formal administrative hearing

    The FCC said it had "serious concerns" about the AT&T / T-Mobile merger after the Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the transaction, and now Chairman Julius Genachowski is doing something about them: he's officially voicing his opposition to the deal and requesting a formal administrative hearing after the lawsuit is done. Genachowski told reporters today that letting AT&T buy T-Mobile isn't in the public interest and that thousands of jobs will be lost in the...

    Continue reading »

    The T-Mobile girl won't be changing into a blue dress anytime soon
  • Update
    4 almost 3 years ago 13

    AT&T plans LTE-Advanced deployment in 2013, matching Sprint's roadmap

    In spite of having only launched its LTE network a few weeks ago, AT&T is already looking forward to the deployment of even faster networking technology. AT&T Labs head Krish Prabhu has expressed his company's intention to deploy LTE-Advanced in 2013, which keeps broadly in step with Sprint's plans to roll out the same connectivity in the first half of that year. Notably, there's no word yet about when or if AT&T will offer Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which Sprint includes among its 1H 2013...

    Continue reading »

    AT&T is building extra obsolescence into all of its 2012 phones
  • Update
    3 almost 3 years ago 44

    AT&T: T-Mobile acquisition may take until mid-2012 to close

    Though AT&T initially expected its purchase of T-Mobile to take just a year to complete, the carrier now says it'll likely be three months longer than initially planned. Given the $39 billion acquisition was first announced in March, that means AT&T is expecting the deal will take until sometime around mid-2012. Not at all unrelated: the Justice Department's lawsuit against the merger goes to trial February 13th.

    Not at all unrelated: the Justice Department's lawsuit against the merger goes to trial February 13th
  • Update
    2 about 3 years ago 9

    FCC to look at AT&T's T-Mobile and MediaFLO spectrum buys 'in a coordinated manner'

    Small carriers and the Rural Cellular Association have been asking all along for the FCC to merge its reviews of AT&T's proposed acquisitions of T-Mobile and Qualcomm's MediaFLO spectrum into a single review process, arguing that the combined effect of both purchases going through would be far more damaging to a competitive market than the sum of the parts. They're not quite getting their way -- yet -- but the FCC's taken a small step in that direction today, releasing a statement...

    Continue reading »

  • Update
    1 over 3 years ago 88

    AT&T and T-Mobile USA: the case against a merger

    In his support of AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom, my colleague Nilay Patel makes an interesting case: though he acknowledges that AT&T’s public interest filing with the FCC is as much smoke and mirrors as it is substance, he argues the merger has the potential to unify compatible spectrum in an open, fair way that encourages manufacturer participation and shifts control from operators to consumers.

    From a technical perspective, I can’t argue that it’s...

    Continue reading »

  • Original Story
    over 3 years ago 46

    AT&T files T-Mobile merger documentation with the FCC --the highlights

    AT&T formally kicked off the T-Mobile merger process today by filing its first supporting documents with the FCC. At 381 pages, it's a monster -- it lays out AT&T's groundwork for the merger, argues that it will actually help competitiveness in the wireless industry, and promises that rural customers will ultimately be better served. In other words, everything AT&T's said all along.

    We've broken down the document with some light analysis after the break, so you should definitely grab the PDF...

    Continue reading »

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