Cingular Wireless, the second-largest wireless telephone operator in the United States, has won the battle for AT&T Wireless after bidding $41 Billion for the third-largest wireless operator in the United States.
Today, the combined company would have 46 million customers and one of the most advanced digital networks in the U.S., with spectrum in 49 states and coverage in 97 of the top 100 markets. The combined 2003 annual revenues of the two companies would have exceeded $32 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement approved by the boards of directors of Cingular and AT&T Wireless, shareholders of AT&T Wireless will receive $15 cash per common share or approximately $41 billion. The acquisition, which is subject to the approvals of AT&T Wireless shareholders and federal regulatory authorities, and to other customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed as soon as late 2004.
“This is great news for America’s wireless users,” said Stan Sigman, president and CEO of Cingular Wireless. “By combining the strengths of these two companies we expect to accelerate the availability of advanced wireless services for consumers. This combination is expected to create customer benefits and growth prospects neither company could have achieved on its own and will mean better coverage, improved reliability, enhanced call quality and a wide array of new and innovative services for consumers.”
“Today’s announcement is a triple win for AT&T Wireless shareowners, customers and employees,” said John D. Zeglis, AT&T Wireless Chairman and CEO. “For shareholders, the transaction provides a handsome return on investment. For customers, this means all the advantages only the nation’s largest wireless company can provide. For employees who become part of the combined company, this means more opportunities than they otherwise would have had with AT&T Wireless as a standalone company.”
Sigman continued: “Wireless communications is one of the most significant growth drivers in the telecommunications industry, and with the acquisition of AT&T Wireless, we believe no other company will be better positioned than Cingular to grow with the market’s continued expansion. The new company will have a strong foundation to begin rolling out exciting new services and data applications that enrich the end-user experience.”
Bigger Network, Better Coverage
Customers of the new company will have access to the largest GSM network in the United States. GSM is the world’s most widely used wireless technology with nearly one billion customers in more than 200 nations. Because both companies use the same technology, the network integration will bring customers almost immediate improvement in coverage and call quality. Cingular customers also will have the widest choice of handsets and devices in the industry.
Because of improved spectrum holdings, the new company should be able to accelerate its offering of advanced wireless data services and pave the way for high-speed third generation services in the future. This is important because consumers and businesses are increasingly relying on wireless internet and e-mail access.
In addition, the new combined company will be well positioned to deliver unmatched services for business customers, including high-speed wireless connectivity for PCs and wireless e-mail devices such as BlackBerry for mobile executives.