MetroPCS in talks to merge with T-Mobile USA

MetroPCS confirmed it's talking with T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom but said a deal isn't assured

Deutsche Telekom is in talks with MetroPCS Wireless on a possible deal to combine T-Mobile USA with that carrier, MetroPCS confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

MetroPCS said the talks might not result in a deal. The negotiations had been widely reported, following reports over the past two weeks that T-Mobile might tie up with MetroPCS, Sprint Nextel or satellite TV operator Dish Network. Deutsche Telekom, based in Germany, is the parent company of T-Mobile USA.

T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile operator, continues to lag behind its larger rivals in both subscriber numbers and deployment of a fast, next-generation LTE network. A deal to merge T-Mobile with AT&T last year was canceled after the regulators rejected the plan as anti-competitive. A breakup deal gave T-Mobile $3 billion cash and spectrum licenses in 128 markets, but the carrier is still in catch-up mode. It plans to light up its first LTE markets next year. In the quarter ended June 30, T-Mobile reported a decline of 205,000 subscribers to 33.1 million.

MetroPCS sells flat-rate monthly plans and has 9.3 million subscribers, including about 700,000 customers on its LTE network. MetroPCS's 3G network uses CDMA, a different technology from T-Mobile's GSM-based system.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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