Who's Bidding On AT&T Wireless

We’ve avoided the daily babble over who is and who isn’t bidding on AWE, but here’s the 11th hour wrapup as we are two hours away from the Friday deadline. Of the players who were rumored to be considering a bid: DoCoMo – OUT, says it does not have resources to manage a big US operation; T-Mobile – OUT, says it is happy with it’s current operation; Nextel – STEALTHY, no word on whether they’ll bid or not but I guess not; Cingular – BID $30B, and are considering how much they’ll have to up that bid to be sure to win; Vodafone – WILL BID, they want full control of a US carrier, a warm and fuzzy feeling they’re not getting from Verizon wireless. So we’re down to two for sure, and maybe Nextel. I think that Nextel cannot possibly be as motivated as the other two, so if they are bidding it’s just to drive up the price. Vodafone is motivated, but it has complications because of exiting VZW investment, but Cingular has nothing but clear synergies to gain: access to new spectrum, access to new customers, huge economies of scale, ability to reduce redundant workforce and equipment, thus reducing costs. Both Cingular and Voda have deep pockets right now, but can Voda possibly extract as much value from a deal as Cingular? I think not.

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