Cingular to Acquire AT&T Wireless
Cingular WIreless announced today they will acquire AT&T Wireless, creating the premier wireless carrier in the US. This would also be the largest GSM networks in the US. Combinded the company will have 46 million customers with service in 49 states and coverage in 97 of the top 100 markets.
Cingular Wireless is a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. 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. The combined 2003 annual revenues of the two companies would have exceeded $32 billion.
"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."
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. Cingular and AT&T Wireless have been leaders in rolling out high-speed wireless data offerings, including GPRS (General Packet Radio Services), EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) and trialing next generation UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).
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