After the merger between T-Mobile USA and AT&T fell through, AT&T is now looking to Europe for potential acquisitions. This is probably to keep from riling up regulators here in the US again. AT&T is thinking that they would be able to roll out more profitable pricing schemes if they had an European counterpart. It’s not like they need more ways to get more money out of their customers anyways.
It’s looking like it’ll be possible for a deal to happen before the end of this year, and the risk to AT&T could be considerable. Europe’s Wireless market is fiercely competitive. It’s also an entirely different regulatory environment, when compared to the US. AT&T executives think that there is an opportunity to exploit in the UK, Germany or perhaps the Netherlands and to be part of the unfolding data-centered rates as services and devices begin to rely more and more on mobile data.
These new opportunities for AT&T are presenting themselves in the form of the difficult economic condition in Europe overall, and the reality is that telecom stocks there are seriously depressed. In the past, AT&T and its predecessor SBC (Cingular) has owned foreign holdings, but most of those equities were divested in 2004.
AT&T has been pretty confusing when asked about expanding overseas. In fact last summer, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said that overseas expansion was not a “high priority”. Then earlier this month, Stephenson said, “I think it is inevitable.” So who knows what AT&T has up its sleeve right now.
It’ll be interesting to see who and when AT&T merges with a wireless provider in Europe. Although we have no idea who AT&T is planning to merge with, or even in talks with. I don’t think they’ll be talking to T-Mobile UK, especially after their failed merger with T-Mobile USA. But I could be wrong. We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with anything that happens with AT&T and the wireless providers over in the UK. Would you want AT&T to merge with Three, O2, Orange or T-Mobile UK? Let us know in the comments below.