AT&T has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction currently valued at approximately $39 billion. With all of the rumors of Sprint and T-Mobile joining up, this may be a little surprising, but strategically it makes more sense since the two carriers have similar networks.

The agreement has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. Deutsche Telekom will receive an equity stake in AT&T that gives it an ownership interest in of approximately 8 percent. A Deutsche Telekom representative will join the AT&T Board of Directors. The deal is expected to close, pending regulatory approval, within the next 12 months.

While AT&T certainly wants T-Mobile for its subscribers, it's also clearly interested grabbing its (Long Term Evolution) network assets, improving network quality for both companies' customers, and gaining more of the limited wireless spectrum. With this transaction, AT&T is committing to a significant expansion of robust 4G LTE deployment to 95 percent of the US population to reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans - including rural communities and small towns.

"This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation's future," Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people. Mobile broadband networks drive economic opportunity everywhere, and they enable the expanding high-tech ecosystem that includes device makers, cloud and content providers, app developers, customers, and more. During the past few years, America's high-tech industry has delivered innovation at unprecedented speed, and this combination will accelerate its continued growth. This transaction delivers significant customer, shareowner and public benefits that are available at this level only from the combination of these two companies with complementary network technologies, spectrum positions and operations. 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."