Report: T-Mobile close to buying MetroPCS

Reports say T-Mobile is in the market to buy a smaller competitor, less than year after the German-owned wireless carrier's proposed sale to AT&T was scuttled.

NEW YORK — The parent of T-Mobile USA, the country’s fourth-largest cellphone carrier, is reportedly close to a deal to buy smaller MetroPCS Communications Inc.

Bloomberg News said the board of Deutsche Telekom AG, the German company that owns T-Mobile USA, is set to vote on the deal Wednesday. The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Bloomberg report did not say what T-Mobile would pay.

The deal would add 9.3 million subscribers to T-Mobile USA’s 33.2 million. The combined company would still trail No. 3 Sprint Nextel Corp. in size. But it would provide T-Mobile with access to additional space on the airwaves for wireless broadband services.

According to its website, Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile lists about 30 retail locations in the greater Charleston area. That number is a combination of company-run stores, authorized independent dealers and sales sites within other high-traffic businesses, including many local Walmart and RadioShack locations.

And on Daniel Island, an estimated 800 T-Mobile call center employees occupy about 100,000 square feet of office space on Fairchild Street, a remnant of the company’s 2007 buyout of SunCom Wireless Holdings.

Richardson, Texas-based MetroPCS has no retail stores in the Charleston region, where it sells a plan called “Extended Home Area,” according to a coverage map on the company’s website. That service includes voice and text. Data, e-mail and multimedia access are available in some places.

T-Mobile tried to merge with AT&T last year, but the $39 billion deal was abandoned after government regulators raised concerns that it would raise prices, reduce innovation and result in fewer choices for consumers.