Deutsche Telekom looking for ways to keep T-Mobile going


In the wake of the abandoned merger effort from AT&T, T-Mobile USA parent company Deutsche Telekom is looking for ways to keep the number-four U.S. mobile operator afloat—and, according to the Financial Times (registration required) that could include issuing new bonds and selling off cell towers—although the company does not expect to announce its strategy for T-Mobile USA until after its next financial results in February.

Deutsche Telekom will be receiving a sweet break-up fee from AT&T in the wake of the failed deal, including $3 billion in cash and a combination of roaming rights and wireless spectrum licenses with a book value of another $1 billion. However, while those assets will help T-Mobile towards a soft landing, they don’t solve T-Mobile’s fundamental problem: they have absolutely no path forward towards 4G LTE technology. Although T-Mobile ostensibly operates the broadest “4G” networking in the United States, it’s based on a unique flavor of HPSA+ technology particular to T-Mobile. The rest of the mobile world is focused on deploying 4G services via LTE. T-Mobile USA does not have the spectrum licenses to roll out LTE on its own, so it will either need a partner or some way to acquire sufficient spectrum licenses to offer LTE. Even if the licenses were available, the funds its receiving from AT&T aren’t enough to buy enough airspace, let alone deploy a new 4G network. A report in Reuters cites Jeffries analyst Ulrich Rathe as putting the potential cost of T-Mobile building out an LTE network at around $9 billion.

According to the Financial Times, T-Mobile is considering a strategy that would have the company selling its network of cell towers and transmission stations to other companies, then retaining access to the towers and equipment via long-term leases. Such a deal could reportedly net T-Mobile as much as $1 or $2 billion in additional cash. The company may also offer additional bonds to investors: if there’s serious interest, it would help Deutsche Telekom placate its core investors by showing T-Mobile USA can operate as a separate entity that won’t leach funds (and profits) from the company’s European operations.

Other options might include partnerships with Dish Network—which could use a mobile carrier as a partner for its planned satellite-assisted LTE service or Sprint, which would likely welcome T-Mobile’s additional facilities and spectrum as it tries to build out its own LTE network. However, an outright merger with Sprint seems like a longshot, for many of the reasons Sprint outlined in its suit to stop the AT&T/T-Mobile deal (reducing competition from four carriers to three)—Sprint may be more interested in having T-Mobile as a customer, rather than an acquisition. T-Mobile could also be looking at partnerships with regional wireless operators like C-Spire, Leap, and MetroPCS, although it’s not clear how those arrangement would work out for anything but LTE.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Samsung partners with AT&T to create a multi-band 5G smartphone for late 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.

AT&T 5G rollout: Everything you need to know about the faster network

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.