AT&T has announced that it will be acquiring Leap Wireless for the hefty sum of about $1.19 billion, something that will bring the prepaid service Cricket under its ownership. The move still needs to be approved by regulators, but one source who spoke to The Wall Street Journal states that there are "pretty good" odds it will go through.
With a single statement that's no more than three sentences long, AT&T has given what essentially amounts to a fair warning to U.S. regulators that they will not have an easy time approving of Softbank's acquisition of Sprint. Having failed at their own acquisition of T-Mobile in the USA earlier this year, it would appear that AT&T isn't going to let the Japanese carrier Softbank work with Sprint without letting them know they're watching them closely. With what AT&T says here, a clear message is sent directly to the FCC saying how the USA doesn't take kindly to outsiders buying up their market - so to speak.
Earlier today it was rumored that Japanese mobile data carrier SoftBank was in talks with Sprint over a possible acquisition of the US carrier - this news has now been confirmed by Sprint with a very brief comment. The words delivered by Sprint here nearer noon on October 11th include confirmation that they're "engaged in discussions" with the Japanese group and that there are "no assurances that these discussions will result in any transaction." They also let it be known that if a transaction does occur, it very well could include "a change of control of Sprint."
AT&T may have seen its T-Mobile USA acquisition plans scuppered, but the carrier intends to continue hunting down smaller spectrum grabs as it extends its network. Speaking on the AT&T financial results call, following the reveal of AT&T's Q1 2012 numbers earlier today, president and CEO Ralph de la Vega confirmed that the carrier would follow arch-rival Verizon in collecting up more spectrum.
T-Mobile's CTO Neville Ray announced today that the carrier has expanded its 4G HSPA+ network to eight additional cities, bringing its total coverage to 225 markets. The question-and-answer format of the announcement also touched on the carrier's HSPA+ 42Mbps network and possibility for an 84Mbps network as well as its plans to implement LTE.
AT&T has managed to beat out all its rivals in the latest mobile phone customer service survey conducted by Vocalabs, despite being ranked worst by Consumer Reports. According to data collected from the firm's survey, which involved telephone interviews immediately following a customer service call during the last three-month period in 2011, AT&T had the highest percentage of customer satisfaction among the four major US wireless carriers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T and T-Mobile have filed a request with the FCC, seeking approval for the transfer of $1 billion worth of AWS spectrum. The spectrum is owed to T-Mobile as part of AT&T's failed $39 billion merger deal.
T-Mobile USA owner Deutsche Telekom has gleefully set out exactly what it can expect from AT&T as its break-up fee, after the collapse of the acquisition deal this week. AT&T was originally to pay $39bn for T-Mobile USA; now, with regulators frowning on the deal, the carrier will be forced to cough up what Deutsche Telekom describes as a "record high break-up fee" of $3bn in cash and "a large package" of AT&T's AWS spectrum. A long-term US-wide UMTS roaming agreement is also mandatory.
AT&T's strategy to sell off assets until regulators looked more fondly at its T-Mobile USA acquisitions have stalled, it's reported, with the carrier simply unable to shed sufficient weight to sway the deal in its favor. Execs at the two carriers had hoped that, by scything off more than 30-percent of T-Mobile USA, the US Justice Department might soften its stance on potential anti-competitiveness concerns about the deal; however, negotiations with Leap Wireless and Dish Network stuttered over the past two weeks, the WSJ reports, amid the growing realization that it still wouldn't be enough to fully convince the agency.
For months now we've been hearing that AT&T and T-Mobile have been going back and forth with various investigatory boards, the FCC, the Department of Justice, their grandmothers, and today its come to light that AT&T is considering "recutting" its original $39 billion dollar deal for T-Mobile USA in light of U.S. antitrust authorities ever-rising opposition. The antitrust case at hand has been postponed in face of the possible recutting, and both AT&T and the Justice Department have joined in asking the judge to postpone all proceedings in the court until January 18th, 2012 -- that way everyone can take a rest and drink some egg-nog while they mull everything over.