AT&T has purchased T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a deal which establishes the network as the single biggest carrier in the United States.

The $39bn (£24m) agreement, which is still to be approved by regulators, would see AT&T overhaul Verizon Wireless as the most dominant network stateside with a 43 per cent share of the market.

AT&T will retire the T-Mobile name in the USA, when the takeover is completed in 2012, and take full advantage of the T-Mobile network infrastructure to improve its own over-burdened network.

The deal is the second T-Mobile sell-off German giant Deutsche Telekom has made in the last couple of years, with T-Mobile UK merging with Orange to form the Everything Everywhere network.

Less choice?

T-Mobile USA had offered customers cheaper contracts and better contract-less, pre-pay options than the big two and it's now expected that AT&T will eventually raise those rates in line with its own fees.

Analysts stateside also believe that the deal could push the lower placed Sprint network "into the arms" of Verizon Wireless, lessening the options for the consumer even more.

AT&T had gained an advantage during the latter part of the last decade thanks largely to an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone.

But the carrier has struggled to keep pace with Verizon's inventory of top Android handsets and better 3G coverage, while it took a further hit when Verizon also gained the rights to sell the iPhone last month.