The last few days have taught us that AT&T is willing to go to extreme and almost ridiculous lengths to save their T-Mobile deal. Now, a new New York Times story takes the cake by indicating AT&T is working on an “11th-hour plan” to save it’s T-Mobile takeover. Reports have widely circulated the past few days stating that AT&T is planning on offering up almost 40% of T-Mobile in order to appease the Department of Justice. The problem with such an offer would be who would be able to step up and grab those assets that the Justice Department wouldn’t dispute. Well, try Leap Wireless on for size as it is now reported to be “knee-deep” in talks with AT&T to purchase some of T-Mobile’s customer accounts and spectrum.
Obviously such a move would be undertaken in order to appease the Justice Departments concerns or at the very least show that AT&T is attempting to work out an arrangement. Such a deal would vault Leap Wireless into the nations fourth largest carrier and still provide AT&T with enough of T-Mobile’s spectrum to consider this a win. If the the notion that AT&T is preparing to work out a deal with Leap to acquire part of T-Mobile sounds looney, that’s because it is. It has us wondering how a company like Leap, that does a little around $700 million in quarterly revenues could afford such a large swath of spectrum and customers? Still, we can’t say this is unexpected as the number of potential partners the Justice Department would accept as buyers of T-Mobile customers and spectrum is quite limited.
The thing about this is, it wouldn’t change any aspect of the fact that two giants would still control the lions share of the wireless world. Sprint, Leap and MetroPCS would be remain far behind both Verizon and AT&T no matter how AT&T does the math. Needless to say, this situation just keeps getting crazier and crazier and at this point, we just have no idea what AT&T will think of next.