MetroPCS interested in buying AT&T/T-Mobile assets

MetroPCS is interested in purchasing spectrum and subscribers from AT&T and T-Mobile, Bloomberg said Friday. Leap Wireless and Dish Network were also approached and Leap may still be interested in making an offer. The deal with MetroPCS would likely amount to less than $4 billion. In August, The Wall Street Journal revealed AT&T had hired Bank of America’s Merill Lynch to advise it on selling as much as $8 billion in assets. Later that month, the United States government sued to block the planned merger when the U.S. Justice Department said the deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the U.S. wireless market. Read on for more.

AT&T approached a number of carriers in September, including Sprint, offering to sell assets in an effort to remedy competition concerns. It remains unclear if selling assets will help it gain government approval.

“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,” Duane Morris LLP lawyer Glenn Manishin explained to Bloomberg.

Manishin also noted that any sale of assets to Leap or MetroPCS would likely not be large enough to boost either carrier to a position where it might compete with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon Wireless on a national scale.

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