Deutsche Telekom boss hits out at US after deal collapse

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The head of German telecommunications operator Deutsche Telekom on Tuesday hit out at US regulators' opposition to the sale of its T-Mobile USA subsidiary to AT&T, calling it unfathomable.

"It is incomprehensible to block a transaction which would have helped the United States to fulfil its objectives" of developing its wireless business, Rene Obermann told reporters.

US authorities "never wanted to examine in detail the concessions offered (by Deutsche Telekom and its partner in the deal, AT&T)," Obermann said.

AT&T said on Monday it was throwing in the towel on its $39-billion-deal to buy T-Mobile USA from its parent Deutsche Telekom after running into stiff opposition from US regulators.

The Federal Communications Commission said the takeover would reduce competition across the country in the already thinly-populated cellphone operator industry, and the Justice Department sued to block the deal on anti-competitive grounds.

Obermann expressed relief over the payment by AT&T of $3.0 billion which had been agreed if the deal fell through.

"It's more than a consolation prize, it's a real relief," he commented but aknowledged that "all the problems were not resolved".

The collapse of the deal marks a significant setback for Deutsche Telekom which wanted to wind up its move into the US market, launched in 2000 with the 40-billion-euro purchase of VoiceStream.

© 2011 AFP

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