US number six operator MetroPCS appears to be at the head of the queue to acquire assets from AT&T and T-Mobile USA to pave the way for the latter two operators to merge, reports Bloomberg.
Sources told Bloomberg that AT&T and MetroPCS plan to meet with the US Justice Department – which currently opposes the proposed US$39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA – in the next two weeks to find out if MetroPCS buying the assets would change the situation.
The scale of any deal to sell assets to MetroPCS is yet to be finalised although is likely to include subscribers and wireless spectrum and be worth less than US$4 billion according to one source.
The sources also said that T-Mobile USA parent company Deutsche Telekom is prepared to help MetroPCS with financing for a deal to happen, although AT&T has also approached other operators such as Leap Wireless and Dish Network.
Both AT&T and MetroPCS declined to comment on any potential deal to Bloomberg.
MetroPCS executive Mark Stachiw said it would be “premature” to block the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) meeting earlier this month, according to a filing posted on the FCC website this week, Bloomberg reports.
Amid the speculation, MetroPCS shares rose 4.3 percent to US$9.03 before trading closed in New York yesterday. This follows a 29 percent drop in share price in 2011.