The Wall Street Journal reports Deutsche Telekom considers sale of T-Mobile USA division: Observers have long noted that with the consolidation of six major cellular telephone operators in the U.S. down to just four, T-Mobile would be far behind. Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless, and the combined Sprint PCS-Nextel control 90 percent of the market.
T-Mobile USA hasn't yet made the investment into a 3G network, preferring to bide its time and limited spectrum licenses by pushing for GRPS instead of EDGE and future GPS-based technologies on the data side. The Journal uses sources not noted to estimate $10 billion for T-Mobile USA to upgrade its network. This may or may not include the cost of obtaining scarce spectrum, too.
The sale could raise $30 billion, and any buyer would obtain the second-largest footprint of hotspots in the U.S. with valuable brand partners like Starbucks. It's unclear whether potential purchasers would have the same commitment to hotspots, however, given the lackluster understanding in the U.S. market by any cellular operator but Sprint PCS (which is using mostly resold locations) and Cingular's majority shareholder SBC (which has Wayport handling buildout).