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AT&T talking to rivals about divestitures, report says

AT&T is looking to unload spectrum and customers as it tries to salvage its planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

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Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read

AT&T has talked to smaller rivals about divesting spectrum and customers in an effort to salvage its deal with T-Mobile USA, according to Bloomberg.

AT&T has talked to MetroPCS Communications and Leap Wireless about selling some of its assets. The telecom giant is also talking to CenturyLink, Dish Network, and even Sprint Nextel--which has opposed the deal--about their interest in buying assets.

AT&T has been scrambling to save a deal that was put in jeopardy when theU.S. Department of Justice recently sued to block the merger

, which would create the nation's largest wireless carrier by combining the second- and fourth-largest players. By potentially selling off spectrum and assets, AT&T could hope to ease the regulators' concerns about creating too dominant a carrier.

Representatives from AT&T, Sprint, Dish, MetroPCS, Leap and CenturyLink declined to comment to CNET.

The Justice Department isn't the only party to oppose the deal. On Friday, seven state attorneys general announced that they would join with the Justice Department's lawsuit. Previously, Sprint had been the most vocal opponent.

AT&T and the Justice Department are scheduled to meet in court Wednesday.

There wouldn't be any shortage of companies interested in acquiring spectrum. The executives of the other smaller carriers have already expressed interest in adding to their spectrum position. Dish has already shown a willingness to buy businesses and spectrum.

The talks with the different companies are at an early stage, a person familiar with the situation told CNET.

Updated at 12:06 p.m. PT: to include responses from Leap and CenturyLink.