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Mergers & acquisitions

FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said late Tuesday it would approve AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s request to withdraw its application to acquire T-Mobile US Inc. from Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT). (See AT&T Withdraws T-Mobile Merger Application .)

The FCC accepted the withdrawal “without prejudice” meaning that AT&T can file again, with or without additional divestitures. Appended to the grant is a staff report that the FCC is circulating to the commissioners outlining why it believes the merger is not in the public interest. The 109-page report will be available online shortly. (See Can Cricket Save the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? )

Notably, FCC officials said that AT&T is likely to upgrade its entire HSPA+ network to Long Term Evolution (LTE) even if the merger isn’t approved. Officials said there is no evidence it’d have to stop at 80 percent as AT&T has suggested.

Why this matters
This is good news for AT&T, although the report going public may prove to further stretch out its timetable for approval, if approval is even still in the cards for the carrier. AT&T will now focus on the U.S. Department of Justice beginning in February and plans to revisit the FCC if it wins at the DoJ.

For more
You can find all of our coverage related to the merger here.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:47:39 PM
re: FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal

Leaving aside the possibility that AT&T can somehow rejigger its deal to make regulatory sense, is it time to start asking what the heck happens to T-Mobile if and when the merger falls apart?


Even if you don't take the woe-is-us stuff from the merger filings at face value, T-Mobile seems to be in a precarious market spot -- not enough spectrum or marketing might to really play with the big hitters, and being seriously undercut by the value providers.


Is there room for T-Mobile to partner with Clearwire and use that spectrum to really push a broadband-centric strategy? Would Sprint ever allow that? What else can or could T-Mobile do? Sell to Apple or Google? They are going to need help from somebody... going it alone does not seem like a viable option.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:47:39 PM
re: FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal

Leaving aside the possibility that AT&T can somehow rejigger its deal to make regulatory sense, is it time to start asking what the heck happens to T-Mobile if and when the merger falls apart?


Even if you don't take the woe-is-us stuff from the merger filings at face value, T-Mobile seems to be in a precarious market spot -- not enough spectrum or marketing might to really play with the big hitters, and being seriously undercut by the value providers.


Is there room for T-Mobile to partner with Clearwire and use that spectrum to really push a broadband-centric strategy? Would Sprint ever allow that? What else can or could T-Mobile do? Sell to Apple or Google? They are going to need help from somebody... going it alone does not seem like a viable option.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:47:38 PM
re: FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal

Yeah, it seems like AT&T really screwed T-Mobile over. It's fair to say T-Mo didn't get the iPhone because of the pending merger, for one thing. Plus, it (unfairly in most cases) degraded the carrier so much in the process that it's not going to look appealing to many.


The Clearwire idea is an interesting one. Doubt Sprint would allow it though.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:47:38 PM
re: FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal

With all the kvetching out of the MSOs, why would they not just build a JV and buy the thing.  Poof overnight they have a nationwide Cell Network.


seven


 

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 4:47:35 PM
re: FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal

I recall that prior to the AT&T deal there was unconfirmed talk that Comcast was looking at T-Mobile. But the MSO had its hands full with the NBC deal and the thinking was that it would be biting off more than it could chew. Anyone else recall that?


Now the MSOs are in the Clearwire JV and that's been complicated at best. So maybe one or more will kick the tires with T-Mobile again. But you have to wonder about the overall value, and the regulatory scrutiny alone is daunting.    

bergea 12/5/2012 | 4:47:33 PM
re: FCC OKs AT&T’s Merger Application Withdrawal



Just last week, AT&T and America Movil outlined a strategic memorandum of understanding that calls for both companies to use each other's communication networks.  Under this agreement, AT&T will be able to use America Movil's networks in 15 countries in Latin America, while America Movil would access AT&T's global network infrastructure to provide Internet services to customers in the U.S. and elsewhere.  The agreement also envisions the two companies collaborating to integrate the latest technologies into their respective networks. 

América Móvil is also the owner of TracFone, an MVNO that sells a flat-rate, prepaid service called Straight Talk, has been rapidly adding subscribers in the United States.in Mexico.  The majority of TracFone's subscribers currently ride on the GSM mobile networks of AT&T and T-Mobile USA.  I believe that América Móvil is a logical candidate to buy a portion of T-Mobile USA's assets, in a friendly transaction that would help AT&T secure approval of its merger proposal.  America Movil could acquire the prepaid business and 2GSM/Edge network and associated 1900 MHz spectrum of T-Mobile USA, and remain a 3G/4G MVNO of AT&T in the future.  The result would be a healthy facilities- based mobile operator that is growing throughout the Amricas region and becoming a significant competitor with more than 10% share in the United States market.   And they certainly have the capital to invest in this deal. 


 



 

http://www.portada-online.com/article.aspx?aid=8865

The New York Times today cites Berge Ayvazian, a telecommunications consultant as saying that “América Móvil in Mexico is a candidate to buy T-Mobile assets. America Movil has had its TracFone unit in the United States for many years. ...

 

http://www.expansion.com/2011/11/28/empresas/tmt/1322500463.html?a=b7f0c76e07c4b3a1ccddc101a3ca1b3c&t=1322633872

 

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