That's it, folks. It's done. Kaput. Finished. First reported by The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press, AT&T has released a statement saying the deal is over.

“The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately. The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage. In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.”

AT&T has already set aside $4 billion (with a "b") in break-up fees, which they'll be paying to someone now.  Big business is an expensive playground to play in.

Long live the Big 4.

Update: Sprint, an extremely vocal opponent of the merger, just issued the following statement:

“Earlier today, AT&T terminated its definitive merger agreement with Deutsche Telekom to acquire 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.”

Source: AT&T

There are 72 comments

moosc says:

And rumor dish network looking to partner with tmo

Aerie says:

That will probably go over as well as them buying Blockbuster.

BobbyPhoenix says:

Yep. To me that/this is great news. T-Mobile will stay T-Mobile with the added money from AT&T, and the padding from Dish. It's just gonna get better.

Actually the money goes to Deutch Telecom the parent company, not the T-Mobile subsidiary. They will merge with or be bought by someone smaller now, that does not mean the name wont change.

uranidiot says:

Maybe...oh and who was the one that said from the start that it ain't gonna happen...oh right I DID!

nickmiller71 says:

Someone will still buy T-Mobile. Either that or they'll withdraw completely from the US. Their parent company doesn't want to fund them anymore and they're still a dying company. That being said, I love T-Mobile and I'm glad they'll be sticking around as a separate entity for who knows how long.

Dragod says:

Google needs to buy T-Mobile and use its resources to make a ridiculously awesome national carrier.

icebike says:

I like that, but I don't think that will happen either.

Google doesn't need the regulatory attention right now. The reason you can't make calls on Google Voice without burning thru carrier minutes is precisely so that Google can avoid being regulated as a common carrier.

T-Mo needs a partner, but a bid by Rogers or Bell Canada makes more sense.

alexandr01d says:

Good. T-Mobile is the only US telco I could deal with, coverage issues notwithstanding...

Glenuendo says:

"In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.” Monopolies are always good for customers.

Please note sarcasm.

lightyear420 says:

thank god!!!! AT&T can't handle the customer base they already we needed that shit-box of a company to get even more of the market!!! Good for you, FCC!!! Now stick it to AT&T again, just for sucking as much as they do.

icebike says:

Now if the AT&T board would just step up and replace the entire management chain that thought this was a good Idea it would be great.

Signing a 4 Billion pre-nup to a company that was on the rocks makes no sense at all. This hurts AT&T stock holders, with no gain and all the pain, and it was all brought about by the stupid Management team.

If they has just committed the 39B for the merger into their LTE roll out AT&T wouldn't be the joke of the LTE world right now. They wasted two years of actual build-out time on the hope they could score something on the cheap. Now they get to cough up 4B, and they are still behind the build-out curve.

thamenacing1 says:

The reality is, they only needed about $3-$6 billion to do the necessary upgrades. This was all about taking out a competitor.

heathroi says:

Well AT&T isn't a monopoly

big_time2 says:

Ha! God rally does exist.

NerdyNugget says:

If Google buy T-MO I would deff switch from Sprint. Everybody gets a free Nexus every year with Unlimited data on a LTE network that gets over 100Mbs lol, a nerd can dream right?

onezerofive says:

Yea for FCC, yea!! never thought I'd say that... ever...

tompro53 says:

Yes, now all I want to happen is Sprint to buy T-mobile.

dchawk81 says:

Which would be as beneficial to Sprint as the Nextel purchase.

crxssi says:

It *was* beneficial, just not terribly so. Now, once the repurpose the Nextel frequencies, it could really be a very great thing for Sprint. But, guess we wait and see.

crxssi says:

Actually, a Sprint/T-Mobile merger might be the best thing ever. Both seem to have similar pricing and both are struggling under the weight of Verizon and AT&T. I tend to think the regulators would not block such a deal, since they are already #3 and #4. But could they pull it off? Takes a lot of money to make something like that go smoothly, and their 3G and 4G technologies are radically different.

MacBook says:

you seem to be forgetting that sprint is CDMA and TMO is GSM..

crxssi says:

Please re-read what I wrote... Specifically the part that says "and their 3G and 4G technologies are radically different."

Then keep in mind that Sprint bought Nextel, which, although was not GSM, did use SIM cards, different signaling, and different frequencies...

There would need to be a merger instead of Sprint buying T-Mobile. They could operate as separate entities and there is a good chance the FCC would look far more favorably upon such a thing.

With that said, it looks like T-Mobile's parent company doesn't want them anymore, so they might only be looking for a buyer and nothing less.

Regardless, I never really thought AT&T would have been very beneficial for the consumer. It is likely AT&T would have made T-Mobile fall more in line with their pricing structure, and that wouldn't have been good for anyone.

MacBook says:

that was the funniest thing I have read all week!!! As if sprint can afford to buy out anyone at this point... lmao

crxssi says:

Companies in the red buy other companies all the time. If you want something funny... how about K-Mart buying Sears and Land's End? I believe they were in "bankruptcy" at the time, too.

RETG says:

Nope, they were not in bankruptcy. In fact, it was Kmart holding that purchased sears. Kmart holding, created in 2003, was what came out of Kmart Corp. after bankruptcy. They purchased sears in 2004, and if they hadn't; sears would have gone under eventually.
When Kmart holding exited BK they were quite strong.

But yes, companies not making money can and do purchase companies if you can get enough investors.

fwdixon says:

It's a bit more nefarious than that. During Kmart's bankruptcy Sears purchased a number of closed Super-K locations with the intention of converting them into "Sears Grand" stores. K-mart Corp's Management used the income generated by the store sales to purchase 51% stock in Sears, Roebuck, & Co, which then allowed them to force the sale of the latter to K-mart Corp.

Hostile takeovers are fun to delve into.

dchawk81 says:

AT&T = Arrogant Turds & Twats

keith2k1 says:

Must have taken you hours to come up with that crap...

Floss82 says:

Finally thank God:) but yes Google needs to by T-Mobile hehe

keith2k1 says:

T-Mo will now going into a bidding war sometime next year...its still gonna get sold and as a T-Mo customer I hate that this deal(at&t) didn't go thru. If Google bought T-Mo (don't think that's going to happen) would AT&T, Verizon and Sprint lose out on Android phones?

dchawk81 says:

Google likes money, so no.

The government just said we'd rather Tmobile go out of business than be acquired by you AT&T!

Typical know-nothing, overpaid bureaucrats high on wielding power and stifling growth rather than acknowledging the realities of business.

This wasn't about AT&T as much as it was a power play by some bureaucrats who've think they saved the day in their silly utopian vision of the world. How does Tmobile exiting the market help anybody, because that's what's going to happen.

DAS says:

I agree 100%. People seem to forget that this was not a hostile take over, but rather T-Mo wants out of the business.

T-Mo wanted to sell and now the've been told by the bureaucrats in Washington that they can't sell to a company that actually wanted to buy them.

At&t bailing out of this fiasco is no victory for the consumer. T-Mo loses out big time, and finds itself no buyer. If T-Mo decides to fold up shop then the consumer is surely screwed.

craigdolson says:

At last, some reason in the midst of the "AT&T sucks" bullshit. Folks, this is capitalism. This is how business is won or lost. When the Government gets involved to make decisions on free enterprise, they fuck it up, 100% of the time. Can anyone say USPS??

ScottJ says:

"When the Government gets involved to make decisions on free enterprise, they fuck it up, 100% of the time."

This is completely untrue. For a recent example, see the successful restructuring of GM.

It's kind of crazy that there are so many people who love trusts and monopolies. The government needs to do more of this, not less.

SteveB2 says:

Uh, I don't think it was what I'd term successful.

ScottJ says:

Uh, GM is back to profitability and has bought back the shares the government owned. What part of that isn't successful? What, not enough good union jobs were eliminated for you?

cvgjava says:

It was and is a complete failure.
Unlike traditional bankruptcy, the US Govt forcibly took assets from one group (bond holders, most of whom are/were avg investors having money in mutual funds and pensions) and moved that value to another group. (unions that would be loyal to the administration) The theft was remarkable and astonishing. If you have any person in your family that relies on a pension, is retired or saving for retirement. they likely had assets stolen from them and given to union bosses.
So, without direct redistribution of assets, GM would have gone through bankruptcy and likely come out a much more efficient company. As it stands today, the clock is simply reset on another colossal meltdown.

ScottJ says:

Uh huh. Go ask one of the people whose job was saved, a good manufacturing job, what they think. In an era where corporations are allowed to ship our good jobs overseas, the government finally did something to reverse that trend, even if it was just a moment.

By the way, where would be the bondholders be if GM had gone completely down the tubes?

Anti-government nuts are a hoot.

icebike says:

Bond holders would have been better off with a collapsed GM than what they are now. Bond holders are first in line to be paid in a bankruptcy. As it is: Small private pensions RUINED, old folks bankrupted.

Featherbedding union members (the ones who drove GM into bankruptcy in the first place) are sitting pretty and all the other creditors equally screwed.

ScottJ says:

For every "featherbedding union member", there are thousands of actual workers who still have their jobs. It's funny how people complain about union leaders make a bit of coin, when CEOs and other executives wouldn't get out of bed for the money the union guys make. Don't get me started on their golden parachutes. Somehow, those guys don't raise the ire of the union bashers.

The anti-union folks always the same discredited tune. You are either with working people or you are against them. It's obvious where you lie.

cvgjava says:

If GM went away...people would still have a need for cars....Ford, Honda, Toyota (all built in the states) so your argument is hollow. No jobs wold be lost..just shifted to other producers.
I do not stand with unions at all. Why should a person be compelled to join a union? Right to work is coming and i cant wait to see the unions contort to tell us all that one must be forced to be in a union. Should be funny to watch.
Union leaders add zero value...workers yes, union leaders no.
Show me an industry that unions have made more productive and profitable (the only reason a business should exist is to deliver a good or a service that yields profit on invested capital...anything else is pure BS)

Go look at Europe......

This is what is know as robbing Peter to pay Paul. The government backed GM with US taxpayer money that it has no business taking from me, you, or anybody else. We already have a mechanism for doing that and its called the capital markets.

The government then poured money back into the corrupt and bloated unions with public money instead of meeting its own trillions in debt obligations.

Don't lecture us on "working people" you blithering moron.

planoman says:


If you really believe that, your thoughts are very, very scary! At least get the facts before you post. Do you really think that GM has repaid the almost 50 billion that we the people, loaned them? Come on now...

You "free" market types seem to forget that AT&T and T-mobile are using a public resource (that we all own), wireless spectrum. While they do pay for this resource they pay waaay less than it is worth. So with that in mind there needs to be some regulation to prevent a monopoly over a finite, public owned resource.

ScottJ says:

Bingo. They are in the throws of a blind ideology that believes the "government is bad" mantra without questioning it. The government is only as good as we are willing to make it. Is it any wonder that these jokers always attempt to sabotage government when they are given the reigns? It's the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.

cvgjava says:

We get the govt. we deserve...I am not anti govt.... rather anti intrusive govt....
These guys buy the spectrum, invest billions on a roll out and yes, should be entitled to make a profit, as much as the market will permit.
If that doesn't work for the govt, take back the spectrum and run it as a state agency...
good luck...

JayWill says:

Good. We definitely don't need the top two carriers controlling 75% of the annual industry revenues. Sprint and T-Mo are still in trouble, but at least this buys some time. Maybe enough time for the two to ink a deal of their own.

Small_law says:

You know who is much more likely to buy T-Mo than Google and who has the cash and motivation to do it? Apple.

That would replace the white whale in my nightmares.

rcobourn says:

Would be ironic for them to buy the carrier that doesn't offer an iPhone.

Wicell says:

The lack of an iPhone disproves you're statement. Apple obviously had no interest in T-mobile, the only thing that could bring any interst to T-mo is if Google announced they were making a bid for T-mo

schnoid says:

I think if T-mobile went out of business in a couple years that would be the best possible thing that could happen to Sprint. Basically Sprint would be the only carrier with unlimited data, it would be the cheapest carrier with T-mobile out of the picture, and by then it might possibly have the fastest network with LTE-advanced rolled out. There's absolutely no reason Sprint needs to buy T-mobile in this kind of circumstance because they'll be benefiting from the majority of T-mobile's customer base anyways.

Which is exactly why Sprint spent all their time and resources getting involved in this deal instead of maintaining and upgrading their network. 

T-Mobile dying is what they really want.

japclev says:

Go S$

bdfull3r says:

So the question is, whose next? DT already said they have no interest in continunig with TMo. ATT was the worst choice to buy but don't expect a turn around. DT will take the 4Bil, line their pockets and look for the next suitor. Hopefully one who won't contribute to a carrier monooly in the states

ScottJ says:

T-Mobile is profitable, just not profitable enough for DK not to try to sell to AT&T.

It would be like if you had a job that paid $100,000/year and someone came around and offered you $10,000,000 to retire. Of course, it would make sense to take the deal. If the deal fell through, that $100,000/year job would start to look good again.

Taz89 says:

t-mobile probably going to cease to exist in the US eventually so i dont see what difference it would have made if at&t did buy t-mo....if t-mo want to leave the US then they will,i mean the US government cant force them to stay in the US.

ScottJ says:

T-Mobile is profitable. People don't shutter profitable businesses for the hell of it.

c0ldburn3r says:

Except it will go under since it's parent company want's no part of it. T-Mo is the most useless cell service in my state. They barely cover the state's capital and I was all for this merge.

Oh well, the government always knows what is best for us all! ;)

ScottJ says:

"Except it will go under since it's parent company want's no part of it."

That's what they said, most likely to increase the odds of the takeover going through. It doesn't mean they will do anything about it as long as T-Mobile is profitable.

"T-Mo is the most useless cell service in my state."

You live in the wrong state. The coverage is great here.

"Oh well, the government always knows what is best for us all!"

We are the government. I signed a bunch of petitions that were sent to various lawmakers to put a stop to this anti-competitive merger. It worked. As a T-Mobile customer that had purposely avoided AT&T due to their crappy support and repressive policies, I'm happy.

ScottJ says:

Kim Jong Il dies and so does the T-Mobile/AT&T merger. Christmas truly does come early!

xolanir says:

I'm glad that the FCC and DOJ saw the Trojan horse from AT&T before it was too late, and I'm glad they stood on the side of monopoly and the consumer. Competition is great and it gives us the consumers a choice at the end of the day.

Kage87Z says:

Facebook will buy it for pocket-money.

Shadow Death says:

I wonder how long it will be until we can't sell cars without a third party charging us fees and telling us what we can and can't do.

ItsaRaid says:


sanibel says:

AT&T? Who's that?

travelerdawg says:

I am glad the the "deal" finally fell through and that AT&T had to pay DT 4B for their time and effort. Now if DT would allow TMobile USA to become their own entity with a parting gift of say...4B USD then that would make me very happy. However, now that the deal is off, maybe DT will let TMOUSA get back to serving the customer!

wpavlik2 says:

This deal was not good for the American consumer.
It was not good for most of the workers at Tmobile, because the goal of a merger is to be able to server more customers with less people working behind the scenes.
This was not a good deal for ANYONE except AT&T stock holders, and I believe I have seen some posts by them in this thread.
If DT wants to get out of the American cellular business, they can do it. TMobile is making money, it's just not making ENOUGH for the greedy management types of DT. (That is what's really sad) TMobile fills a need for a huge number of consumers. They are a fly in the ointment for AT&T.
As a Sprint customer I'm happy this got killed, not because I want Sprint to buy TMobile, but because there should be more than one carrier per type of mobile phone technology. Competition is what helps regulate the market.

smthomas66 says:

I like ATT's statement about how fiercely competitive the telecom industry is and how will they survive now. Oh, come on...these services have about a 40% margin on them. They simply want to cut out competition to keep prices this high and I'm glad the deal got stopped. Hopefully Google comes out one day and starts a service for $30 that includes unlimited calling, data, and texting with purchase of a Nexus device.

If Sprint did buy T-Mobile, I could see Sprint converting over into GSM from CDMA. Which might help Sprint become faster than they are now.
There are still several carriers (Metro PCS, US Cellular, Cricket, etc.) that use CDMA, so there would still be more than 2 of each technology.
Worst case scenario, Sprint buys out T-Mobile and uses the new company as their new found contract free service. Not exactly pre-paid, but contract free, with both post-paid & pre-paid plans. But having 2 different networks to maintain for 1 company might get costly.