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MetroPCS subject of takeover rumors

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MetroPCS subject of takeover rumors
Pre-paid carrier MetroPCS, the nation's fifth largest mobile operator in the U.S., is the subject of takeover speculation once again. According to DealReporter, MetroPCS, with just under 10 million customers, is being targeted by T-Mobile, Sprint and even satellite television provider Dish Network. Back in February, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse had backed an $8 billion purchase of MetroPCS and the deal required only a thumbs up from Sprint's board which is usually a formality when the CEO backs a deal. But in this case, Sprint's board rejected the deal and both carriers walked away.

With its LTE network, MetroPCS might be a great fit for Sprint, which is just building out its own LTE pipeline and has 24 cities covered, and T-Mobile which is planning on starting its own LTE network sometime next year. According to DealReporter, talks are still continuing with all three parties and MetroPCS. Spokesmen for all of the players involved refused to comment. MetroPCS has LTE coverage in 14 markets with about 1 million customers using the speedy service. The carrier plans on adding VoLTE service and has already started it up in Dallas-Ft. Worth although in other areas the service will be delayed by 4-6 months for "fine-tuning".

The pre-paid carrier has been trying to compete with the big boys by offering LTE and top-shelf phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III. Even if a deal is reached by MetroPCS and another company, the regulators will have to step in as they did with AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile. Considering that Sprint and T-Mobile are the nation's third and fourth largest carriers respectively, there should be fewer hurdles if either one decides on picking up MetroPCS.

source: DealReporter (subscription req'd) via Bloomberg

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