AT&T Said To Be Mulling Buy of Leap’s Cricket

Knocked down by U.S. regulators in its failed $39 billion merger with T-Mobile USA but not defeated, AT&T reportedly has eyed another wireless acquisition target.

Sources told Reuters AT&T has had conversations to acquire Leap Wireless International, the owner of the Cricket prepaid brand. Reuters couldn’t confirm whether those talks are ongoing and representatives for both companies declined comment to the news agency.

Such a merger obviously would beef up AT&T, already the second-largest mobile provider in America, although Leap is only a fraction of the size of T-Mobile USA with a modest base of 6.2 million customers.

The report emerged the same week sources told Bloomberg and Reuters that Deutsche Telekom has been discussing a merger of T-Mobile USA with another prepaid wireless carrier, MetroPCS Communications. T-Mobile USA has been struggling to hold onto its contract customers, who often are more lucrative for wireless carriers than prepaid subscribers.

Such a deal would be relatively small compared to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Based on first-quarter figures, MetroPCS and T-Mobile serve a combined 42.9 million customers.

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