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There goes the neighborhood as MetroPCS is now the rumored frontrunner to absorb wireless spectrum, assets and subscribers from AT&T and T-Mobile as the two companies work to complete their acquisition. Though the size of any deal is far from definitive, it’s likely to include subscribers and spectrum and be valued at less than $4 billion.
AT&T has already approached both Leap Wireless and Dish Network but MetroPCS, with more than $2 billion in cash is in a stronger financial position to be able to take over the spectrum and customers. The Department of Justice would have to sign off on the deal however and they may find the proposal with MetroPCS insufficient to satisfy their demands.
“Spinning off some of T-Mobile’s customers or network doesn’t really remedy the government’s issue with the merger, which is that T-Mobile is such a disruptive and significant competitor that anything which makes them no longer independent would be unacceptable,” said Glenn Manishin, a lawyer with Duane Morris LLP in Washington. “It’s unlikely that sufficient assets could be transferred to any of the regional players to make them into a national network.”
Bloomberg sources said that AT&T and MetroPCS are aiming to meet with the Justice Department again sometime in the next two weeks to determine if the proposed remedies satisfy the DOJ demands. As part of the proposed deal, Deutsche Telekom would help MetroPCS with some of the financing. All parties involved declined to comment.