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 licenses for some 128 market areas of AWS spectrum, including 12 of the top 20 markets. That's a pretty big deal, and will probably force AT&T to rely more heavily on its 700MHz holdings for LTE deployments in some areas.
Additionally, it was known that a failed merger would result in a roaming agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile, and now we know the details: T-Mobile gets a seven-year UMTS roaming deal on AT&T, which would certainly explain why some recent T-Mobile devices (the HTC Amaze 4G, for instance) have included support for HSPA on the 850 and 1900MHz bands. Deutsche Telekom says this means T-Mobile's coverage will go from 230 to 280 million subscribers — an increase of over 20 percent.
Though there's no sign that DT now suddenly wants to keep T-Mobile USA in its holdings over the long term, it seems like this is a totally acceptable outcome for the carrier. Realistically, it might be exactly what it needed to get it over the hump, put it on the path to growing its subscriber base again, and into an LTE agreement of some sort. We'll see.