Deutsche Telekom (DT) is close to a deal to merge its T-Mobile USA unit with Texas-based MetroPCS, Bloomberg reports. According to the news agency, the German company’s board is scheduled to meet in Bonn tomorrow to approve the deal, which could be announced the same day. In a statement on its website DT confirmed: ‘Deutsche Telekom is holding talks with the listed company MetroPCS with the aim of operating its subsidiary T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS within one company in which Deutsche Telekom would hold the majority of shares. The talks are at a stage where significant issues have not yet been finalised, contracts have not yet been signed and the conclusion of the transaction is still not certain’. MetroPCS also confirmed the talks in a separate announcement. Late last week it was reported that MetroPCS had initiated merger talks with T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel and DISH Network, a satellite TV operator with aspirations to reinvent itself as a Long Term Evolution (LTE) provider.
TeleGeography notes that T-Mobile USA has taken steps to rebuild its business after AT&T’s long-planned USD39 billion takeover attempt fell foul of the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a host of rival mobile operators in December 2011. Since the collapse of the AT&T deal T-Mobile has reinvigorate its brand and realign its spectrum holdings. T-Mobile plans to deploy a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the 1700MHz band in 2013, and as such pre-paid specialist MetroPCS represents an appealing takeover target. Last month CEO Roger Linquist and chief financial officer Braxton Carter noted that the carrier had close to one million LTE subscribers, up from the 700,000 it reported in late July. Further, the cellco expects to launch Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) in all 14 of its markets within four to six months.