AT&T agrees to buy T-Mobile, creating industry giant

AT&T has agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG for $39 billion in cash and stock.

The deal, announced Sunday, combines the No. 2 and No. 4 wireless companies in the U.S. to create the largest provider with 129 million subscribers, surpassing Verizon.

The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The companies said AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA “provides an optimal combination of network assets to add capacity sooner than any alternative, and it provides an opportunity to improve network quality in the near term for both companies’ customers.”

In the past, AT&T has been criticized in consumer surveys for inconsistent iPhone service.

The companies said customers will see service improvements — including improved voice quality — as a result of additional spectrum, increased cell tower density and broader network infrastructure. When the deal closes, AT&T will immediately gain cell sites equivalent to what would have taken an average five years to build without the transaction, the news release said.

The companies said the merger also will provide “a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in some markets, which limits both companies’ ability to meet the ongoing explosive demand for mobile broadband.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. The companies expect it to close in about 12 months.

The deal may give Deutsche Telekom an 8 percent stake in AT&T, which will add a Deutsche Telekom executive to its board of directors, Bloomberg News writes.

AT&T is based in Dallas, but its cell unit, AT&T Mobility, is Atlanta-based.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

160 comments Add your comment

DHD

March 20th, 2011
3:21 pm

First…maybe

penguinmom

March 20th, 2011
3:21 pm

Oh well, so much for the good Tmobile customer service we’ve received over the last couple of years. We changed to Comcast for our email to get away from AT&T and their abysmal service. Guess we’ll need to start looking for another service provider since I am supremely confident that the customer service level for our cellphones will go steeply downhill once AT&T take over.

Jeff is goofing off again

March 20th, 2011
3:22 pm

Oh, no. AT&T pretty much screws up everything they touch. And now its going to be Tmobile. Now I have to find another cell phone carrier.

NO_Street_Spam

March 20th, 2011
3:26 pm

Oh Crap! Well I can only hope they keep the two pricing structures for now. T Mobile has a better deal on pay as you go broadband, which I use

jeff l strickland

March 20th, 2011
3:29 pm

well i was going to go to t mobile im with AT&T now customer service is as bad as sprint i guess Im going Verizon!!

Soon to be dissatisfied customer

March 20th, 2011
3:29 pm

We had a great run, T-Mobile. Verizon, here I come!

Cryin'

March 20th, 2011
3:31 pm

Oh, crap. AT&T. Just shoot me.

Rip

March 20th, 2011
3:32 pm

In the 80’s the feds busted up ATT and the baby bells because they were too big. Now all these guys are merging which just means less competition , less selection and higher prices for consumers

BORN AND RASIED ATL

March 20th, 2011
3:32 pm

This is some BS! I can’t believe this at all. AT&T sucks and I can’t believe that a small organization like T-Mobile would make a move like that. I can say this: At least they are on 4G but I really do feel for everyone else.

jasmine

March 20th, 2011
3:33 pm

Damn im mad at&t is crap and sneaky can we say- -z my metro is poppin

Ghost

March 20th, 2011
3:42 pm

rod “not so” bright must either work for AT&T, hence the bad attitude, or is an AT&T fanboy. Take a chill pill buddy.

KevinM

March 20th, 2011
3:45 pm

Unexpected news today, but the rich get richer.

Let’s see if at&t can somehow provide better service now.

redrocco24

March 20th, 2011
3:50 pm

the only good thing about this deal is access to the iphone. i have been with t-moble since they were voicestream. this can only be good for at&t. customer service….ect.

Donna

March 20th, 2011
3:50 pm

Verizon here I come. I will never use AT&T again. They have poor customer service and I am not the only one that feels that way.

TnGelding

March 20th, 2011
3:56 pm

Are they crazy? Sell your stock if you can find anyone to buy it. Yeah, it grows on trees, but you have to print it and earn it first.

What about Divine Divide for the gulch in the Bible belt?

cherry berry

March 20th, 2011
3:58 pm

i think i will just go ahead to sprint i am not oaying for high phone plans

rid0617

March 20th, 2011
4:03 pm

The word just got out this week that AT&T was going to cap DSL usage at 150gb beginning May 3. Anything over that is $10 per 50gb. They claimed streaming video (see Netflix) was costing them too much money. I guess they had a little spare change laying around to screw up another great company.

Jeff is goofing off again

March 20th, 2011
4:07 pm

I’ll agree that Tmobile’s customer services has tended towards a negative direction in recent years, but it’s far better than ATT’s

UralBas

March 20th, 2011
4:14 pm

I refuse to be an ATT customer. Its the WORST COMPANY from a customer stand point of view.

Deuttsche Telelom sold us out! We should all leave TMobile asap. Unless you want to be charged extra for an inferior service.

ATT provides the following benefits to its customers:

– A service so poor, that is not even allowed in third world countries
– You will pay dearly
– You wont be able to user your hotspot unless you pay up what ATT wants.
– Your Android cap will be limited to make iPhone look good so your speed will drop from 5K to 0.5K Mbps
– You stand a good chance of been overcharged without noticed for services you dont comsume.
– You will have to review your bill every month to see if its accurate.

Advice to ALL TMobile customers, LEAVE while you can!

strike out

March 20th, 2011
4:27 pm

More bad service to come from 1 big company now. I’m going verizon–enough of this mediocrity from ATT.

Ned Puddleman

March 20th, 2011
4:33 pm

AT&T isn’t the old AT&T. AT&T is run by the old SBC. Big difference in terms of operations and customer service.

kayman

March 20th, 2011
4:49 pm

To all T-Mobile users: Switch to Verizon while you can. At least Verizon doesn’t gauge their customers for services that they don’t use! AT&T, i.e. SBC (Southwestern Bell Company) is based in Dallas, but they are using the “AT&T” brand now, but they deserve to be reverted back to being a regional company.

peak oil

March 20th, 2011
4:49 pm

I have never been impressed with AT&T…gonna switch when my NAZI contract is up in a few months!

esperantisto

March 20th, 2011
4:57 pm

I just paid $65 to get out of an AT&T contract and switched to T-Mobile. Looks like that was all for nothing…

RJ

March 20th, 2011
4:58 pm

@Ned, you’re exactly right! The old AT&T gave much better customer service. When ATT was bought by Cingular I noticed the horrible customer service. I will now be going with Verizon. I’ve had an aircard with them for 2 years and really haven’t had any problems. Good-bye T-mobile/ATT!

Neil

March 20th, 2011
5:02 pm

What customer service do you folks need and use that AT&T is so bad at providing? I’ve had my cell with them since the late 1990s. I use my phone and pay my bill each month. Every so often I upgrade my phone. Period. Call quality is fine, and Internet speed is usually 1Mbps or better on 3G.

bummed

March 20th, 2011
5:02 pm

i wish they would put pay phones back up around town, then i’d cancel cell phone service for good. i hate this and that’s an understatement!

Pookie

March 20th, 2011
5:09 pm

I hate AT&T. AT&T lacks ethical foundations. Wow. I have no idea what company to go to now. And yes the customer service sucks. I have had AT&T (DSL service/phone) for three years. This is the second wireless modem that I have purchased from them, the second is not working and they wanted me to pay for another one. Three times malfunction without warranty, I don’t think so…..And yes, I paid for the other two.

David

March 20th, 2011
5:10 pm

My contract with T-Mobile will be up in September so I can switch to another carrier. I have been with T-Mobile for over 5 years, and I have heard nothing but problem with AT&T.

Ann Olson

March 20th, 2011
5:11 pm

We started with either Power tel or Voice Stream which was bought out by one or the other and then T Mobile took over. We have had excellent customer service. Our house was hit by lightening and our house phone and all appliances were “fried” – - the only thing we had was T-Mobile. We explained to them our problem as it took two weeks to get appliances and phone service restored. They gave us ONE HUNDRED FREE MINUTES! I am not happy about this decision for a take over!

Crazy Diamond

March 20th, 2011
5:14 pm

Lots of dissatisfied AT&T people here. Well folks, the grass is not greener with Verizon. Go with the company that givs you the plan you need and the overage you need. I left T-Mobile because I needed copverage in places they did not service. I left Verzon because they never got my bill right (NEVER) and had horrible customer service. AT&T plan works for me and the coverage is OK.

outspoken1

March 20th, 2011
5:25 pm

this really SUX, I have been with T Mobile since they were Powertel.
If I had wanted to be with At&T I would have signed up long ago with them.
Thank God for Metro PCS….yes, I’ll go there to stay with a smaller carrier.
I say fuq’um

Frank

March 20th, 2011
5:26 pm

Guess I’m done with T-Mobile.

Diajimbo

March 20th, 2011
5:34 pm

I had ATT service years ago and when I switched to T-Mobile I was pleased. ATT is a giant conglomerate who is in the business of gouging as many $$$ from everyone they touch! I use TRACPhone, (StraightTalK) a pay as you go, no contract $45/month unlimited texts, unlimited calls and internet usage. No more contracts for non-service for me!! Cell phone companies are right up there with big banks as criminal elements who have been “awarded” licenses to steal from the public. That is what those well heeled lobbyists are doing in Washington!!!

cisinc

March 20th, 2011
5:35 pm

My family has been with T-Mobile for 13+ years since the old Powertel days I’ve used AT&T for business and it was total crap. About a month ago I had to call T-Mobile for a customer service issue and for the first time ever it was handled offshore (after waiting 45 minutes in the queue). Customer service & call quality have always been T-Mobile strong points. I guess those are gone now. I run an iPhone on T-Mobile and instead of using my T-Mobile hotspot I now subscribe to Line2 from the Apple app store. My phone is much faster than those of my friends on AT&T. What a disappointing day !

Steve

March 20th, 2011
5:36 pm

Well I swithced from AT&T to T Mobile, Once my contract is up, goodbye T Mobile. AT&T sucks plain and simple. Hello Verizon.

JP

March 20th, 2011
5:37 pm

Last Saturday I bought a new phone at T-Mobile. They signed me to a 2-year contract so I could get a discount. Nobody said A WORD about the fact that T-Mobile would no longer exist. I wonder if my contract is valid; I did not sign a contract with AT&T.

Renee

March 20th, 2011
5:38 pm

I am very unhappy with this. AT&T is would have never been my choice.

Michael

March 20th, 2011
5:38 pm

Native Atlantan2

March 20th, 2011
5:40 pm

I’m with you Neil. I don’t understand all the complaints. Have my entire bundle with AT&T — U-Verse, High-Speed Internet, wireless….never had a problem with customer service or billing. Like you, I upgrade phones every couple of years and continue to have NO problems. Yes — call do drop in certain location, which is odd given Atlanta is the home of AT&T Wireless but good service otherwise. And, for the record – SBC bought AT&T then changed its name to AT&T. The merged company then bought BellSouth and all of Cingular.

count_schemula

March 20th, 2011
5:47 pm

I liked my T-Mobile too… I won’t be an AT&T customer, that much I know… AT&T is foul. You don’t get the nickname “deathstar” because your customers are in love with you.

bb

March 20th, 2011
5:48 pm

jay

March 20th, 2011
5:53 pm

att will now be the LARGEST cell company…. 129 million subscribers….. hahaha. love att

edge pro

March 20th, 2011
5:55 pm

ATT—maybe worse service than delta airlines—which I didn’t think was possible. I dropped them last year and will not go back!

good

March 20th, 2011
5:57 pm

As an AT&T cell customer, I’m encouraged by this. Their coverage area should improve.

Ain't No Way

March 20th, 2011
6:04 pm

I’M ON MY WAY TO THE VERIZON STORE!!!!

eviejay

March 20th, 2011
6:15 pm

Remember, we’re consumers. You can’t possibly think AT&T or T Mobile cares about our opinions or needs. The rich gets richer!

walter

March 20th, 2011
6:16 pm

this is a damn shame, at&t will have to change their data plans or they will be alot of people that won’t even switch over to them when the time comes!

paul

March 20th, 2011
6:17 pm

I was an AT&T customer once upon a time. It taught me never, ever to be one again. After over a decade with T-Mobile, I’ll be gone if this goes through. Oh.. and god forbid you ever have to deal with AT&T’s fraud dept. A family member of mine went through hell getting them to remove 3 (!!!) fraudulent accounts they filed against her credit record. And those accounts were set up when her DOB clearly showed she was a minor and legally unable to make any contracts. Verizon looks like the least worst choice now.

jonnycash

March 20th, 2011
6:36 pm

AT and T was awful/ They didn’t have as good coverage and service was lousy. TMobile has been excellent. I hope that doesn’t change.