AT&T Wireless to Buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion

The merger will combine the second and fourth largest cellular providers in the U.S.

AT&T announced Sunday that it would buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a game-changing deal valued at $39 billion.

The acquisition will combine two of the nation's major cell phone carriers, leaving only Verizon and the much smaller Sprint in the market.

"This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation's future," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.

He added, "We are confident in our ability to execute a seamless integration, and with additional spectrum and network capabilities, we can better meet our customers’ current demands, build for the future and help achieve the President’s goals for a high-speed, wirelessly connected America."

The New York Times reports that critics believe the deal will result in higher prices for T-Mobile customers, who will likely have to subscribe to AT&T rates after their current contracts expire.

However, the merger will also bring 4G to T-Mobile subscribers through AT&T's new LTE standard and is expected to improve network quality and cut costs across the board for both companies.