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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
AT&T Ends $39 billion Bid For T-Mobile

AT&T has dropped its controversial $39 billion bid for Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, bowing to fierce regulatory opposition.

AT&T said today that after a thorough review of options it has agreed with Deutsche Telekom AG to end its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA, which began in March of this year.

AT&T will have to find another way to address its shortage of wireless airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice have tried to block the transaction, although AT&T claims that the U.S. wireless industry - one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world - should address the need for more wireless spectrum soon. The company says that AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage.

"AT&T will continue to be aggressive in leading the mobile Internet revolution," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. "Over the past four years we have invested more in our networks than any other U.S. company. As a result, today we deliver best-in-class mobile broadband speeds - connecting smartphones, tablets and emerging devices at a record pace - and we are well under way with our nationwide 4G LTE deployment.

"To meet the needs of our customers, we will continue to invest," Stephenson said. "However, adding capacity to meet these needs will require policymakers to do two things. First, in the near term, they should allow the free markets to work so that additional spectrum is available to meet the immediate needs of the U.S. wireless industry, including expeditiously approving our acquisition of unused Qualcomm spectrum currently pending before the FCC. Second, policymakers should enact legislation to meet our nation?s longer-term spectrum needs.

"The mobile Internet is a dynamic industry that can be a critical driver in restoring American economic growth and job creation, but only if companies are allowed to react quickly to customer needs and market forces," Stephenson said.

After announcing the deal in March, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom in November withdrew their application for Federal Communications Commission approval to focus on addressing Justice Department concerns.

But the judge presiding over the Justice Department case criticized the withdrawal.

Vonya B. McCann, senior vice president of Government Affairs for Sprint, issued the following statement in response to AT&T?s decision to end its bid to takeover T-Mobile USA:

"This is the right decision for consumers, competition and innovation in the wireless industry.

"From the beginning, Sprint has stood with consumers who spoke loudly and clearly that AT&T?s proposed takeover of T-Mobile would create an undeniable duopoly that would have resulted in higher prices, less innovation and fewer choices for the American consumer.

"Sprint commends the Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission and the bi-partisan group of state attorneys general who gave voice to the concerns of consumers across the country. We look forward to competing fiercely in the robust, competitive market that exists today and continuing to deliver the world class service and products that consumers have come to expect from Sprint."

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