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T-Mobile parent DT says another sale unlikely

Deutsche Telekom is likely reluctant to strike another big deal after AT&T's failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA.

Rene Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, delivers a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress 2012. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Deutsche Telekom isn't keen on repeating last year's failed attempt to wed its T-Mobile USA unit to AT&T, or any other carrier, for that matter.

A complete sale of T-Mobile is unlikely as Deutsche Telekom focuses on turning the business around and ensuring it is a self-funding venture, Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann told shareholders today, according to a Bloomberg report.

T-Mobile has spent the last few months getting back into the wireless game in a real, aggressive way, launching ads that specifically target its competitors, including former suitor AT&T, and laying out plans to move to a next-generation wireless network. The carrier recently unveiled a restructuring plan that would result in a net loss of 350 jobs, although it has committed to hiring more for its business-to-business unit.

T-Mobile is emboldened partly because of the $3 billion in cash, spectrum, and roaming agreements left to it by AT&T as part of a breakup fee for the failed merger. AT&T opted to walk away from the deal in December after regulators let it be known they would block it.

But T-Mobile has a long road to recovery. In the first quarter, the carrier posted a profit, but continued to lose its core contract subscribers, still its largest source of revenue. Its shift to the business-to-business part of the industry has been slower than its competitors'.

While DT may not sell all of T-Mobile, other deals are on the table. The carrier is weighing the sale of its tower assets, as well as spectrum.