Cingular won the bidding war for AT&T Wireless after it offered to pay a whopping $41 billion or about $15 a share in cash. It beat out Vodafone of UK which has going to toe to toe with the Atlanta-based carrier, but in the end could not keep up with the rising bids. The price is a 26 percent premium to the closing share price of Cingular. The deal makes the combined companies the largest US carrier with 46 million customers, and wireless spectrum in 49 states, coverage in 97 of the top 100 markets in the U.S, and a total revenue of over $32 billion.
“This is great news for America’s wireless users,” said Stan Sigman, president and CEO of Cingular Wireless. “By combining the strengths of these two companies we expect to accelerate the availability of advanced wireless services for consumers. This combination is expected to create customer benefits and growth prospects neither company could have achieved on its own and will mean better coverage, improved reliability, enhanced call quality and a wide array of new and innovative services for consumers.”
This is clearly a huge win for the GSM standard at least in the near term and one expects that most of the GSM users will end up getting better coverage. This is also expected to bring some rationale to the market place which is seeing a sharp decline in per minute pricing as carriers duke it out amongst themselves to lure the maximum number of users. As the consolidation continues, many expect the rest of the companies will also rationalize along technology guidelines.