AT&T Wireless-Cingular Deal Rumors Intensify

The on-again off-again informal talks between AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless are apparently on again, as the nation's two largest TDMA and GSM providers search for a synergistic way to

January 14, 2004

1 Min Read
Network Computing logo

The on-again off-again informal talks between AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless are apparently on again, as the nation's two largest TDMA and GSM providers search for a synergistic way to face the future.

In the wake of a surging stock price for AT&T Wireless, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two firms are talking "possible merger or consolidation." With five major mobile-phone companies stalking each other for deals, an AT&T Wireless-Cingular deal makes sense: The two firms already have a joint agreement to build wireless infrastructure towers in Western states and, of course, they share the same move towards 3G GSM.

A combination of the two companies would present a powerful competitor to Verizon Wireless, which has an estimated 24 percent of the country's mobile-phone users. A merger or cooperative agreement between AT&T with 14.5 percent mobile-market share and Cingular's 15.5 percent would catapult a joint entity ahead of Verizon.

Cingular is jointly owned by former regional Bells SBC Communications and BellSouth, but the firm is still a private company. AT&T Wireless is a public company, and Japan's NTT DoCoMo has a stake in the firm as well. Getting all parties together won't be easy. Waiting in the wings is Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA Inc., which also uses the GSM standard, making it a potential partner. T-Mobile has an estimated 8 percent share of the U. S. mobile-phone market.

Like Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS operates on the CDMA standard. Sprint has a market share of about 10 percent, according to market share estimates by researchers.None of the companies involved in the informal talks are saying anything publicly, but AT&T Wireless' stock movement is a likely sign that something is going on.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like


More Insights