Deutsche Telekom to merge U.S. ops with MetroPCS

Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS agreed to merge their operations in the United States, leading to an impairment charge of at least 7 billion euros ($9 billion) for Telekom in a move that might allow the company to exit the U.S. wireless market.

Deutsche Telekom will hold 74 percent and MetroPCS 26 percent in the combined entity, Deutsche Telekom said in a statement on Wednesday, confirming a report from German paper Financial Times Deutschland.

The plan comes less than a year after U.S. antitrust regulators quashed Telekom's plan to sell T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile service provider, to AT&T Inc , the second-largest, for $39 billion.

Once Telekom's strongest growth engine, T-Mobile USA has been losing customers to bigger and smaller rivals in recent years, partly because it is not authorized to sell the Apple iPhone.

(Reporting By Peter Dinkloh and Harro Ten Wolde)