The combined company will have over 46 million customers, spectrum in 49 states, and coverage in 97 of the top 100 markets. The current largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, has about 38 million subscribers.
Under the terms of the agreement approved by the boards of directors of the two companies, shareholders of AT&T Wireless will receive $15 cash per common share or approximately $41 billion. Shares of the company closed yesterday at $11.82.
The acquisition, which is subject to the approvals of AT&T Wireless shareholders and federal regulatory authorities, is expected to be completed as soon as late 2004.
AT&T Wireless was unofficially on the sales block for some time. In the last year, T-Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, and several other companies have considered buying it. Recently, however, the company was openly for sale.
AT&T Wireless carries a variety of smart phones and cellular-wireless handhelds, including the Treo 600, Motorola MPx200, and the BlackBerry 7280.