The boards of Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS have approved a deal that would combine MetroPCS with T-Mobile USA,The Wall Street Journal reports. According to sources, the new company will run under the T-Mobile banner, headed by T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere. However, though Deutsche Telekom reportedly has a substantial stake in the new company, it could reduce it over time, effectively letting MetroPCS take over the T-Mobile label in the US.
No-contract carrier MetroPCS had about 9.3 million subscribers in mid-2012, while T-Mobile USA had closer to 27 million under its contract and prepaid labels and more under MVNOs. Both trail larger carriers like Sprint or Verizon. T-Mobile USA previously attempted to merge with AT&T, but the move was blocked by American antitrust regulators. While those regulators will still need to approve this deal, the relatively small size of both companies makes it potentially less controversial. So far, neither MetroPCS nor Deutsche Telekom has officially confirmed the agreement.
Update: We've now received confirmation that the companies have "signed a definitive agreement" to combine MetroPCS with T-Mobile USA. As reported, the new company will operate as T-Mobile, combining the subscribers and network coverage of both carriers. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2013.