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 roaming deal on AT&T's network), but that it's not sufficient to move to LTE — and it doesn't have a plan in place to make LTE happen in the absence of additional spectrum acquisition or a new partnership. "Our first task is to operate the business the best we can with this new situation, and that's what we're going to do."

The starkest comments came from a member of Deutsche Telekom's corporate communications team, Andreas Fuchs: "There's no Plan B. We're back at the starting point." If nothing else, AT&T's license transfer and roaming deal should buy T-Mobile's American business some time — but in the long term, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see some other suitors come forward. Olbermann's intentions had been to refocus his company on its core European businesses, and there's no outward indication that AT&T's failure changes those plans.