AT&T has announced that it will be buying the US arm of T-Mobile for $39 billion, joining the two networks together - if regulatory bodies give the go ahead.
The move, say T-Mobile and AT&T, will “ensure the deployment of a robust 4G LTE network to 95 per cent of the US population, something neither company would achieve on its own.”
It’s not just about joining up the network dots, but opening up a wide variety of smartphones to both customers, including the possibility, for the first time, of T-Mobile USA customers getting their hands on the Apple iPhone.
“Because of our compatible networks and spectrum, the customers of T-Mobile USA and AT&T will experience improved voice and data service almost immediately after the networks are integrated,” says T-Mobile in a statement exuding the virtues of the proposed merger.
However, the deal might hit a stumbling block when it goes before the regulatory authorities, as the merging of the two operators would create America’s largest mobile network, with some 129 million customers.
“After evaluating strategic options for T-Mobile USA, I am confident that AT&T is the best partner for our customers, shareholders and the mobile broadband ecosystem,” said Deutsche Telekom chairman and CEO René Obermann on the deal announced on Sunday.
Previously, there were rumours that Sprint was looking to buy T-Mobile USA, so this implies that AT&T put in a better offer.
Like Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, AT&T and T-Mobile USA plan to share cell towers to benefit network customers. According to the two companies, the new combination will increase AT&T’s network density by approximately 30 per cent in some of its most populated areas.
Those in America hoping the deal means they’ll get a T-Mobile iPhone tomorrow shouldn’t hold their breath.
“T-Mobile USA remains an independent company. The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months,” says T-Mobile in a Q&A.