DOJ CLOSES ANTITRUST PROBE INTO T-MOBILE / METROPCS MERGER

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by The U.S. Justice Department and received via
electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.) 
MARCH 12, 2013 
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANTITRUST DIVISION STATEMENT ON THE
CLOSING OF ITS INVESTIGATION OF THE T-MOBILE / METROPCS MERGER 
WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division
issued the following statement today in connection with the
closing of its investigation into the proposed transaction that
would combine T-Mobile USA Inc. and MetroPCS Communications
Inc.: 
After a thorough review of the proposed transaction, the
Antitrust Division has determined that the combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS is unlikely to harm consumers or
substantially lessen competition and has closed its
investigation. 
In this transaction, T-Mobile-one of four nationwide providers
of mobile wireless services-will merge with MetroPCS, a provider
in only certain regions of the country.  As the department
alleged in its 2011 case challenging the proposed merger of AT&T
Inc. and T-Mobile, many dimensions of competition in the mobile
wireless industry take place at a national level, including plan
pricing, device offerings and network technology.  Like many
local and regional providers, MetroPCS faces limitations,
stemming from its lack of nationwide spectrum, networks and
scale, and therefore exerts little influence on these aspects of
mobile wireless competition. 
The department considered whether the proposed combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS might tend to lessen competition
substantially in any particular local area, for instance by
combining the two carriers with the best local coverage.
MetroPCS has a network based on high frequency spectrum (i.e.
advanced wireless services (AWS) and personal communications
services (PCS) spectrum) that is less able to cover rural areas
or penetrate buildings.  It does not provide a particularly
unique and competitively significant differentiated offering in
the regions in which it operates.  Each of the markets served by
MetroPCS is also served by all four national carriers.
Accordingly, the transaction is not likely to lessen competition
substantially at local levels. 
Finally, the proposed combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS may
have a procompetitive impact in that it improves T-Mobile’s
scale and spectrum position, particularly since MetroPCS’s
spectrum holdings are compatible with T-Mobile’s existing
network. 
The department said that it will continue to monitor competition
in the mobile wireless industry and to bring enforcement actions
where warranted. 
T-Mobile is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Bellevue,
Wash.  T-Mobile is the fourth-largest mobile wireless
telecommunications services provider in the United States as
measured by subscribers, and serves approximately 33.3 million
wireless connections to wireless devices.  In 2012, T-Mobile
earned mobile wireless telecommunications services revenues of
approximately $17.2 billion.  T-Mobile is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. 
Deutsche Telekom AG is a German corporation headquartered in
Bonn, Germany.  It is the largest telecommunications operator in
Europe with wireline and wireless interests in numerous
countries and total annual revenues in 2011 of €58.7 billion. 
MetroPCS is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Richardson,
Texas.  It is the fifth-largest mobile wireless
telecommunications provider in the United States as measured by
subscribers, and serves approximately 8.9 million customers.  In
2011, MetroPCS earned mobile wireless telecommunications
services revenues of $4.8 billion. 
The division provides this statement under its policy of issuing
statements concerning the closing of investigations in
appropriate cases. This statement is limited by the division’s
obligation to protect the confidentiality of certain information
obtained in its investigations. As in most of its
investigations, the division’s evaluation has been highly fact-specific, and many of the relevant underlying facts are not
public. Consequently, readers should not draw overly broad
conclusions regarding how the division is likely in the future
to analyze other collaborations or activities, or transactions
involving particular firms. Enforcement decisions are made on a
case-by-case basis, and the analysis and conclusions discussed
in this statement do not bind the division in any future
enforcement actions. Guidance on the division’s policy regarding
closing statements is available at:
www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/guidelines/201888.htm. 
(bjh) NY 
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