AT&T has been rumored to have a two-track plan to help get its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile okayed by the Department of Justice and FCC, which includes keeping T-Mobile's cheap rate plans around and selling off some assets. Today more details on the latter half of the plan emerged courtesy of sources speaking to Bloomberg. According to "two people with direct knowledge of the situation," AT&T is in the process of approaching smaller carriers like MetroPCS, Leap Wireless, CenturyLink, Dish Network, and Sprint to see if those operators would be interested in buying assets like spectrum and subscribers. The tipsters said that the talks are currently only preliminary.
We've heard AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson say in the past that his carrier is open to divesting some markets in order to get its deal with T-Mobile done, so it's not a surprise to hear that it may want to spin off some assets to carriers like MetroPCS, even if it views those operators as stiff competition. It's not yet clear if any deals will struck, but you can bet that AT&T is negotiating aggressively so that it can avoid a big legal battle with the Justice Department.