AT&T is in talks to sell off chunks of its spectrum and subscriber list, it’s reported, as the carrier attempts to reduce potential barriers to its precarious T-Mobile USA acquisition plans. MetroPCS, Sprint, DISH Network, CenturyLink and Leap Wireless have all been approached by AT&T, two sources tell Bloomberg, with the carrier looking to slim down and, in the process, bypass complaints that the acquisition would be bad for competition and consumers.
However, while the talks are believed to be ongoing, they are described as “preliminary” and may well not result in any asset sales. Even if successful, there’s always the possibility that the Department of Justice – which will hold a hearing about the merger on September 21 – will decide that the sales are still inadequate to prevent AT&T from becoming the monster-carrier rivals argue is the risk.
Opposition to AT&T’s plans continues to mount, with seven US states joining the DOJ to protest against it. None of the companies named would comment on the negotiation claims, which are apparently being advised by Bank of America. If AT&T’s deal fails to go through, the carrier will be liable for a $3bn payout to T-Mobile USA as well as various spectrum and preferential roaming concessions.