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T-Mobile penetrates Virgin Islands

US cellco yields to the mighty Euro

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T-Mobile USA has gobbled up SunCom Wireless, looking to expand the country's fourth-leading cell phone network into Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the heart of the Southeastern United States. You know, the former confederacy.

T-Mobile, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, will pay $1.6bn in cash for the regional wireless carrier and assume $800m in company debt.

Spanning North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia as well as parts of the Caribbean, SunCom's GSM/GPRS/EDGE network has provided roaming service for T-Mobile users since 2004, but T-Mobile now wants to merge the network with its own.

“The strategic fit of the SunCom operations will make this a near-perfect acquisition," said Robert Dotson, T-Mobile president and chief executive officer, as you'd expect him to say. "It will round out our domestic footprint, allowing us to serve 98 of the top 100 markets, and will significantly benefit our financial position by reducing roaming expense."

But our favorite quote comes from René Obermann, chairman of the Board of Management at Deutsche Telekom: "With the acquisition of SunCom, we will continue to implement our strategy to 'grow abroad with mobile', which is part of our overall group strategy," he said. "At the same time we can realize significant synergies on the cost side and improve our market presence. As a result, this acquisition will fit very well with our strategy to grow abroad with mobile primarily within our current footprint within the context of market consolidation."

Unfortunately, we can't provide a translation. We're even not sure if he's using marketing speak or his native German. This El Reg hack is fluent in neither.

In acquiring SunCom, T-Mobile expects to expand its wireless coverage from 244 million PoPs to 259 million, reach about 1.1 million more customers, and save about $1bn as it slices those roaming and operational costs.

Despite the acquisition, the company is still the country's fourth- largest wireless provider, behind AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. T-Mobile is set to reach 28 million customers, but AT&T reaches 61 million. ®

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