AT&T Closes Crown Castle Tower Deal, Is Vodafone Buy Next?

**Editor’s Note: Please click


for a recap of the biggest communications mergers in Q3 2013.**

AT&T has wrapped a deal that has the carrier leasing 9,000 cell towers and selling another 600 to independent operator Crown Castle International for $4.83 billion.

It’s widely expected that AT&T might use the cash infusion to help it pursue expansion in Europe. The nearly $5 billion essentially doubles the company’s cash on hand.

The U.S. government has been reluctant to approve a huge acquisition by AT&T in the States, concerned that it will significantly reduce competition and perhaps lead to price hikes for consumers. Just two years ago, the Department of Justice put up roadblocks to AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile enough for America’s second-largest wireless operator to give up on the transaction.

But speculation has been growing that AT&T’s pursuit of a counterpart across the pond might not be met with such resistance. Sources told Bloomberg last month that the wireless giant might try to buy some or all of Vodafone at some point next year.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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