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AT&T Shouldn't Sweat T-Mobile Merger Disaster

By Craig Galbraith
February 13, 2013 - News

**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q4 2012 or here for the biggest M&A during that time in the service provider-BSS/OSS spaces.**

Taking some of the blame and calling the failed merger with T-Mobile USA one of his "worst moments" earlier this week, AT&T Randall Stephenson should be able to let bygones be bygones.

So says an analyst with Yankee Group, who says AT&T is bouncing back well.

“AT&T’s failed T-Mobile acquisition was clearly a disappointment for Stephenson, but AT&T’s size, momentum with the iPhone, aggressiveness in launching new businesses – such as connected devices – and quick recovery on the spectrum front (40 separate deals in 2012) kept it from taking as big a hit as its merger partner, T-Mobile (which is just now starting to really right its ship)," noted Yankee Group senior analyst Rich Karpinski, commenting specifically on a Fierce Wireless article.

AT&T pulled its pursuit of the T-Mobile acquisition more than a year ago after it became clear that regulators, worried about a potential lack of competition in the wireless market, weren't going to approve the $39 billion deal. Last fall, T-Mobile said it would grow by purchasing MetroPCS, America's fifth-largest mobile operator. That deal awaits regulatory approval, which it is expected to receive.

Stephenson, who made the comments about T-Mobile at a telecom conference in Denver, also weighed in on DISH's potential to offer wireless services. The carrier and the satellite company have been rumored as potential partners.

"Still trailing some rivals in terms of raw spectrum at its disposal, it’s interesting that Stephenson mentions Dish and possible operator partnerships," Karpinski added. "Where and with whom Dish and Clearwire land remain the open questions left to be sorted out as the mobile broadband industry takes a brief respite before it’s next headlong rush forward."

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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