AT&T (NYSE: T) wants T-Mobile and has offered $39 billion to Deutsche Telekom (XETRA: DTE.DE) to get it. The acquisition, should it pass through all the government reviews, would have a dual impact on cable: It would block the industry's primary wireless partner Sprint (NYSE: S) from being able to get bigger with its own T-Mobile acquisition and it would create an even greater threat in Apple-happy AT&T as a competitor for cable's baseline broadband and video entertainment subscribers.
For AT&T the deal provides a carrier with similar technology and a tidy 35 million customers to compete with Verizon Wireless, which will drop from the top to a distant second place. Embattled Sprint could become the afterthought and cable could have an even tougher row to hoe as a mobile broadband player.
AT&T Chairman-CEO Randall Stephenson issued the requisite prepared statement, calling the acquisition a economic opportunity driver for "device makers, cloud and content providers, app developers and more."
The deal got the stamp of approval from the CWA, which issued a statement from President Larry Cohen calling it "a victory for broadband proponents in both the U.S. and Germany."
- see FierceWireless' take
- see this news release
- and this news release
AT&T + T-Mobile: The merger that was hiding in plain sight
Grading the top 10 U.S. carriers in the second quarter of 2010