AT&T is said to be looking towards Europe for a carrier acquisition. The reasoning here is that AT&T would be able to grow in ways that they cannot currently do in the US market. The move is clearly risky, but according to details coming from a recent WSJ report, it will allow AT&T to focus on a new market where they will be able to “upgrade technology and roll out more lucrative pricing strategies.” Of course, all this is coming from people familiar with the matter.
Putting that aside for a moment, a European carrier acquisition would place AT&T in a more competitive market. Not to mention, in a market where they would be up against another (and new) set of regulators. According to the details given, AT&T is currently focusing on markets to include the UK, Germany or the Netherlands. More specifically, AT&T is said to have their sites on Royal KPN in the Netherlands and Everything Everywhere in the UK.
But on that note, it was also said that it couldn’t be confirmed as to whether or not AT&T had actually begun any negotiations. Some of the potential issues here would be as to how customers would take to the current way AT&T handles things — a two-year agreement and an upfront payment for most phones while European carriers often have handsets available for free on agreement.
The other interesting part to watch would be the focus on data. Much of the US has shifted to data over minutes and messages. The other side of course would be Europe, where many of the carriers still look towards minutes and messages for income. But maybe this could go back to the thought of upgrading technology — a case where AT&T could push for 4G and a new style of plan.
All said and done, even as this report notes that “the company is currently studying targets, and a deal—if one happens–could come before the end of the year” — it was also said that top AT&T executives are currently undecided as to whether a move into Europe would make sense.