Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

AT&T Tries and, so far, Fails to Buy T-Mobile

AT&T's attempt to purchase rival T-Mobile is amounting to one gigantic dropped call. In late November, AT&T pulled its merger application with the Federal Communications Commission, which was contesting the $39 billion deal, an arrangement that would leave most of the nation's cell phone service in the hands of two large companies. The Justice Department has also moved to block the deal. Officials at AT&T and T-Mobile said they were still exploring their options, but most observers were officially declaring it a dead deal. The merger, announced in March just months after AT&T lost its right to be the exclusive seller of Apple's iPhone, was supposed to revive the nation's No. 2 wireless service provider, and bolster its increasingly constrained network. Instead, AT&T will have to acquire bandwidth elsewhere, and it has less money to do so. As part of the deal, AT&T agreed to pay T-Mobile's owner Deutsche Telecom a $4 billion breakup fee if the deal didn't go through.