AT&T Walks Away From Merger With T-Mobile – For Now


Some huge news shook the wireless industry over Thanksgiving weekend with the announcement that AT&T has formally withdrawn their bid to the FCC to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. Before you get your hopes up — T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, said that although they have withdrawn their application to the Federal Communications Commission, they will continue to pursue anti-trust approval for the proposed merger from the U.S. Department of Justice.

So, why the withdraw in the first place? Some are speculating that it’s very possible AT&T didn’t want to fight 2 court battles simultaneously and they’ll be back once they get things worked out with the DOJ in February. One thing is for certain, AT&T better start counting out the $4 billion ($3 billion in cash and $1 billion for spectrum access) they now owe T-Mobile as part of the “breakup fee” in the event the transaction didn’t go through as planned.

Some are speculating that even with the new $4 billion in pocket change, this is only postponing the inevitable for T-Mobile and bankruptcy is in their very near future. Don’t worry, Carly — you always have a home here with me… in my parent’s basement.

[Via Reuters]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Don’t worry. Once you get the Galaxy Nexus, everything will be fine :)

  2. Good for T-Mobile USA. 

    They have a good network, but need to expand it more.

    1. You’re uneducated on the matter. T-Mobile USA will die regardless if this merger goes through or not. The parent company Deutsh Telekom wants nothing to do with T-Mobile USA anymore. It has been a huge loss year after year and they want to offload it with some minimum damage – hence the merger.

      Without the merger, DT will just kill T-Mobile USA and accept their loss and move on without gaining more losses. AT&T’s merger would have been the best case scenario for T-Mobile’s customers.

      1. “AT&T’s merger would have been the best case scenario for T-Mobile’s customers.”

        Speak for yourself. AT&T isn’t the best scenario for me.

        1. So you’d rather T-Mo USA just went bye bye leaving you screwed and debating which carrier you want to now go to now over just the name on your bill changing, while you keep your existing T-MO contract with the OPTION to leave if you decide you want to?

          interesting how you’d take no choice over having a choice.

          1. I’d rather have no carrier than be back under AT&T. And I know I’m far from being the only person who feels that way.

          2. I agree but that should be our decision to make, not the government. Lots of other people would rather keep tmobile even with at&t’s involvement.

          3. If you think AT&T would keep you on your old plans, you’re flat out delusional. And it’s not simply a matter of the name changing, it’s the quality of customer service, coverage, etc. 

            Letting this go through WOULD take away a choice, how is it people are too dumb to understand that?

          4. I probably would switch to verizon or sprint if tmobile was taken over by AT&T. That would be my choice.

      2. There’s no proof anywhere stating the DT will shutter T-Mobile USA if they can’t sell it off to ATT, they’ll just keep looking for someone to buy it, but won’t shutter it, nice try tho

      3. NO sir YOU are uneducated in the matter.  DT will sell off Tmobile to someone else, and Tmobile will live on.  And its not a f***ing MERGER its a TAKE OVER.  Dt was in talk with 5 other people before they went with ATT.  We have no idea who the other 3 are.  Research before you open your mouth.

      4. You are wrong… They have been profitable quarter after quarter and year after year.. They have not been losing money.. They don’t make the profits of AT&T or Verizon because they don’t have the amount of customers, and they are lower priced.. but profits are profits.. not loses.

  3. Damn it, and I just switched to T-mobile. I really hope ATT don’t come back and try to buy them again.

  4. Haha wow! Although I have to agree. Carly could definitely stay with me :-)

  5. If only a company like Google were to buy T-Mobile. Then we would all be happy, and not fighting over which carrier is “better”.

    1. I want this so bad. I do not want to go back to AT&T or Verizon. Sprint is worthless here in Cleveland too.

    2. That would be cool, but I wonder what kind of unforeseen consequences there might be.  I’d put money on Comcast buying them out.

    3. If Google bought T-Mo, it wouldn’t magically make them the better carrier. Your viewing the world thru Google Goggles my friend. =P

      Not saying it couldn’t potentially become, but they’d have a long way to go to surpase AT&T and Verizon. Tacking Google in the front of something doesnt magically make it better. ;)

      And not everyone would be happy. If Google bought TMo, how would that effect  Android devices on other carriers?

      1. I can dream can’t I? Everything you stated is true, but it would make me a happy person if it actually happened.

  6. T-Mo won’t last more than a couple years. It was an absolutely stupid thing that the US government has caused.
    T-Mo dying will destroy a huge amount of jobs, and when they die, who do you think will snatch up all their GSM cell towers, all their customers with compatible phones (talk about a selling point!). In their attempt to stop AT&T from being the #1 cell phone carrier, and “encourage competition”, the US government has guaranteed AT&T’s place, while costing innocent people an incredible amount of jobs. Why/ Because our government can’t keep their nose out of private affairs. Assholes. >_>

    1.  hardly a private affair, but ok.

    2. T-Mobile USA is not dying, or close to dying, DT just wants out of the American market

    3. Why would jobs be lost? I mean temporarily they would, that’s to be expected. But T-Mobile subscribers would have to go somewhere and with an increase in revenue and customers it’s only logical that other carriers would hire more employees. 

      Also if T-Mobile goes under Verizon would probably still be the number 1 carrier, I’m sure they would offer deals to incoming customers with GSM phones to take away the advantage AT&T would have in regards to network compatibility. 

      Customers now have more choice, because they know that T-Mobile will either go under or be bought  the fact that the merger wont happen for some time means that they can switch to whatever carrier they please without being forced onto AT&T.
      And as phoenix said this isn’t a private affair, it’s a corporate affair and I literally could not care less if the Government defines a corporation as an individual, it’s not. Gay marriage, that’s a personal affair, this merger is not. 

    4. I am now dumber for having read your post.

  7. chris, why must you be so creepy sometimes?

    1. You wouldn’t want Carly living in your basement? Or your parents, whatever. 

  8. your basement? Chris, seriously?

  9. uh, no, they (ATT) are really afraid to be back. They withdrew their application so that documentation of their antitrust violation can’t be documented along with all those “accidental leaks” and other info covered on dslreport. Plus, they can’t have a rejection in their profile if it was never formally submitted.

    They’re desperate here, and FTC is not showing signs of backing down.

  10. people glad att didnt buy..but in end youll be sorry…and alot of workers..thanks for the people who have no common sense.

  11. Not sure what you people don’t get about the parent company wanting the USA branch gone.  T-Mobile USA isn’t going to ride off into the sunset if they don’t get sold, they are a LOSS.

  12. One correction to the article — AT&T will owe the cash and spectrum to Deutsche Telecom, NOT T-Mobile. There’s no incentive for DT to stay in the US market, so they can just auction off their spectrum to the highest bidder. 

  13. i believe this is actualy an acquisition. and its not over yet. we wont know until february.

  14. Hope there’s no bankrupcy it buy-out!

  15. The last sentence was the best part of the post! Funny stuff.

  16. I guess I just don’t understand. When I was on Cingular and AT&T took them over years ago, I still have the same unlimited data plan I had.  I also have had nothing but wonderful customer service and good luck with AT&T.  Everyone complains that they’re more expensive than everyone.  My bill runs right over $220 with five lines two smart phone unlimited, two nonsmart phone unlimited, unlimited texting, roadside assistance, 1400 minutes with mobile to mobile.  I couldn’t find a single carrier that could match that.

    1. Cingular ate at&t, and renamed themselves… at&t lol. Plus you are grandfathered in, just think of everyone who upgraded and changed plans. Not everyone has stayed with the same carrier for years, or has a nice grandfathered plan.

    2. My parents were with Cingular when the AT&T merger happened, and they had the exact opposite experience. They gave horrible customer service, pressured him to “upgrade” to one of their “newer” plans, and tricked him into giving up his grandfathered plan. Now my dad pays over $500/month for 5 lines (3 smartphones, 2 non-data). While you may have a sweet deal right now, nobody else can jump in and get that deal. It’s a bit odd to compare a contract that is no longer available to new-customer contracts on other carriers.

      1. So you’re parents fell victim to pressure phone sales. No way…I dont believe it. Whos at fault? Your parents for being suckered and still being suckered @ the tone of $500 a month!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Yes, my parents are stupid for staying with AT&T, but the fact remains that that’s the current going rate there. It’s ridiculous to compare a plan that is no longer signable to the new plans of other companies. If you get a new plan at AT&T, it’s still much worse and much more expensive than getting a new plan elsewhere. The point also remains that AT&T makes an effort to eliminate grandfathered plans, making it very easy to be fine-print-ed out of yours. Also, your sarcasm is really not doing you any favors here.


  18. AT&T should just stop acquiring new phone companies just to stay at the top. 

  19. Sprint is cool.

  20. its really stupid.its called free enterprise! and dont give me that monopoly bullshit because there are choices!

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