Deutsche Telekom, the metaphorical mother and father of T-Mobile USA, assumed that AT&T’s attempt to purchase their bastard redheaded child would go through without any issues. Turns out that the American government thought about consumers for a change and came to the conclusion that fewer operators would stifle innovation. This puts Deutsche Telekom in a tricky situation. For them, there was no “Plan B”, they wanted AT&T’s $35 billion to invest in their European networks. According to the Financial Times, Deutsche Telekom pours roughly $3 billion per year into T-Mobile USA, which puts AT&T’s severance package for T-Mobile into some context. AT&T agreed to a “break up fee” in case the T-Mobile didn’t go through that’s worth somewhere in the range of $6 billion. Half of that is cash, the rest is spectrum and a 7 year roaming agreement. That’s obviously not enough to cover T-Mobile’s expenses, so Deutsche Telekom called some bankers to see what they can do.
Some of the options on the table include selling all of T-Mobile’s cell towers. Think about how crazy that is for a second. T-Mobile spent countless man hours over the course of several years to build a nationwide network, and now they want to sell their towers to the highest bidder, effectively gutting their network, just because they need money to keep on running. Another option is to issue bonds, but who in their right mind would invest in the country’s fourth largest operator?
Here’s one possibility we hope that Deutsche Telekom is considering: Sell T-Mobile to Dish Network. The satellite vendor has already announced their ambitions to roll out a nationwide LTE-Advanced network, so why not compliment that data network with some voice? Dish owns 40 MHz of spectrum, so when combined with T-Mobile’s current spectrum holding, plus the extra spectrum they’re going to get from AT&T, that would put the combined companies into a ridiculously nice position.