Expected closing date of AT&T purchase of T-Mobile pushed back to June or July 2012

Expected closing date of AT&T purchase of T-Mobile pushed back to June or July 2012
The expected closing date of AT&T's $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile has been pushed back due to the legal issues that the carrier has had with the Department of Justice and other carriers. The nation's third largest carrier, Sprint, has especially been vocal in publicizing its distaste for the deal which takes the carrier right underneath it in U.S. rankings and moves it to the carrier in front of them. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has made a huge amount of noise regarding the proposed purchase. Instead of closing in March or April of 2012, AT&T now sees the deal wrapping up in June or July of next year. If the deal goes through, AT&T will leapfrog Verizon and become the nation's top carrier in terms of subscribers

Besides the Department of Justice seeking an injunction against the deal, Sprint and C Spire are also taking AT&T to court to try and prevent the deal from happening. For its part, AT&T has promised to divest up to 25% of a post-merger T-Mobile and had promised to move a large number of jobs back to the States in order to please the government, which is afraid that a post-merger AT&T would cut jobs and raise prices. AT&T also said any T-Mobile customer whose contract expires after the merger will be allowed to renew the pact at the same rate until they no longer want to renew. Besides dealing with the Justice Department, AT&T is still waiting to hear from the FCC which has yet to vote on the deal. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the T-Mobile deal raises "serious concerns" about competition in the mobile carrier industry.

In addition, approval for AT&T's purchase of a block of spectrum from Qualcomm was combined by the FCC with its approval for the T-Mobile purchase. AT&T now expects the Qualcomm spectrum purchase to close by the end of Q1 2012 instead of the end of this year, as earlier expected.

source: WallStreetJournal

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