AT&T is holding merger talks with Cingular Wireless. The talks are believed to be at a preliminary stage, although both parties are declining to comment. The two mobile operators are already cooperating on a joint GSM network that is to be launched in the Midwest and the west of the US.
It is rumoured that Vodafone is seeking to pull out of its joint venture with Verizon Wireless and acquire its own GSM network. Vodafone has previously interrupted agreed mergers, and its last chance of attaining a GSM/UMTS network in the US may be to bid for AT&T Wireless.
A deal with AT&T could be difficult as it is 16% owned by NTT DoCoMo. Vodafone’s J-Phone is in competition with DoCoMo in the Japanese market. Buying Cingular, on the other hand, will be harder. SBC Communications and BellSouth own Cingular and neither are believed to be willing to sell.