Just hours after a report surfaced about AT&T coming to the realization that the T-Mobile buyout would likely never be approved, the carrier decided to announce it would no longer pursue the deal.
Instead, it will forge a partnership with T-Mobile where it is able to tap into the rival carrier’s infrastructure, but it will still remain that – a rival.
The buyout offer had been $39 billion, one of the largest such offers in corporate history.
But regulators had a bevy of problems, including the fact that T-Mobile and AT&T are the only two major carrier in the US that operate on the GSM standard (Verizon and Sprint use a different format called CDMA), and that the resulting company would be so big and dwarf over the competition, that no one would be convinced that it would lead to anything but higher prices and less competition.
This was, of course, a known hurdle from the day the two companies started hammering out a deal. As a result, AT&T guaranteed T-Mobile that it would pay $4 billion as a concession fee for wasting the company’s time and limiting its ability to expand over the last several months.
The joint partnership with T-Mobile surfaced as an idea a few weeks ago, but it was seen as the ultimate last resort. AT&T’s official company line had continued to be that it believed it could pass regulatory scrutiny if it needed to face a federal court.