In an announcement that caught many of us off-guard, AT&T said yesterday that they plan to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. The deal is expected to close in about a year, pending approval by the appropriate government entities, but what if the acquisition falls through? AT&T has explained that if that happens, they'll owe T-Mobile $3 billion and will also need to transfer some of their AWS spectrum licenses that aren't "critical" to their initial LTE roll out. Additionally, ATT and T-Mobile would need to reach a roaming deal in areas where T-Mo doesn't have any coverage. That way, Magenta's coverage will match AT&T's.
Obviously AT&T is pretty confident that the deal will go through, especially since they're planning to extend their LTE coverage to more rural areas of the country. They'll have to fork over quite a bit to T-Mobile if it doesn't, though, which gives ATT even more incentive to work with the government to get the deal done. It's going to be a pretty wild ride, so be sure to stay tuned.