AT&T is hoping to get its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile approved by regulators through a deal it is reportedly negotiating with smaller mobile carrier Leap Wireless.
According to a report from The New York Time’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, AT&T is “knee-deep in talks with Leap Wireless” for a possible acquisition of T-Mobile assets if the AT&T and T-Mobile deal gets approved.
Citing unnamed “people involved in the negotiations”, the Times reports that AT&T is hoping Leap will acquire “a big piece of T-Mobile’s customer accounts and some of its wireless spectrum”.
If the deal goes through with the second-tier wireless carrier, AT&T hopes that regulators’ antitrust fears will be alleviated and let the acquisition of the Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile proceed.
Nonetheless, at the heart of the AT&T-proposed acquisition is T-Mobile spectrum which the carrier argues will be needed by the company to continue to offer expected levels of quality in its network while expanding and upgrading its network.
Leap Wireless sells prepaid service via the Cricket Wireless name and if it decides to buy T-Mobile assets after the AT&T acquisition, it will likely become the fourth biggest carrier in the U.S.