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T-Mobile USA in talks to buy MetroPCS

Oct. 02, 2012 @ 11:30 PM

NEW YORK -- The parent of cellphone company T-Mobile USA on Tuesday said it's in talks to buy smaller MetroPCS Communications Inc., a deal that could shore up two struggling smaller players in the U.S. wireless industry.

Deutsche Telekom AG, the German company that owns T-Mobile USA, said "significant issues have not yet been finalized" and no decision has been made on a deal. MetroPCS also confirmed the talks.

T-Mobile USA is the country's fourth-largest cellphone company, with 33.2 million subscribers. Adding the 9.3 million subscribers of Dallas-based MetroPCS, the industry's No. 5, would still leave T-Mobile trailing No. 3 Sprint Nextel Corp.

However, the deal would give T-Mobile access to more space on the airwaves, a critical factor as cellphone carriers try to expand their capacity for wireless broadband. Last year, AT&T struck a deal to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion for much the same reason. That deal was shot down by regulators, who believed competition would suffer if the second-largest cellphone company were to gobble up the fourth-largest.

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