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September 17, 2007 at 11:26 AM

T-Mobile buys SunCom

T-Mobile USA, the fourth largest U.S. wireless carrier, said today that it is acquiring SunCom Wireless for about $2.4 billion in cash and assumed debt.

This includes a cash payment of about $1.6 billion and assumption of $800 million in debt. T-Mobile USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications giant.

T-Mobile said the acquisition will add to its network coverage in the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. SunCom serves customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Similar to T-Mobile, SunCom operates a GSM/GPRS/EDGE network. It has been providing roaming to T-Mobile in these markets since 2004.

In a release, T-Mobile President and Chief Executive Robert Dotson said:

“The strategic fit of the SunCom operations will make this a near-perfect acquisition. It will round out our domestic footprint, allowing us to serve 98 of the top 100 markets, and will significantly benefit our financial position by reducing roaming expense. Furthermore, it will add a talented group of employees that will enable us to serve more than one million new SunCom customers with industry-leading national products and services available under the T-Mobile brand.”

SunCom has about 1.1 million customers. T-Mobile reported almost 27 million customers at the end of the second quarter.

That still puts T-Mobile well behind Sprint Nextel, the third largest U.S. carrier. It reported that it had about 54 million customers at the end of the second quarter on its two networks.

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