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.