AT&T & T-Mobile USA
11:13 am
Mon March 21, 2011

AT&T to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion

AT&T Inc. is about to become the largest cellphone company in the U.S. The company says it will buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $39 billion.

Right now AT&T is the second largest wireless carrier, behind only Verizon Wireless. AT&T expects its acquisition to take a year to close.

So, how could the acquisition affect customers?

AT&T says that if its deal to buy T-Mobile USA goes through, T-Mobile subscribers with "3G" phones will need to replace those to keep their wireless broadband service working.

AT&T said Monday that it in the year after the closing, it plans to rearrange how T-Mobile's cell towers work. The spectrum they use for third-generation services, or 3G, will be repurposed for 4G, which is faster.

That would leave current T-Mobile phones without 3G. They would need to be replaced with phones that use AT&T's 3G frequencies. AT&T said it had factored the cost of replacement phones into the total cost of the acquisition.

Here's more information from NPR's "The Two Way".