Deutsche Telekom mobile phone division T-Mobile USA has agreed to buy SunCom Wireless Holdings Inc for about $1.6 billion, the companies said on Monday.

Deutsche Telekom said in a statement it would also take on SunCom debt of almost $800 million and that it saw synergies from the transaction of about $1 billion.

SunCom shareholders will receive $27 per share, a 22.7 percent premium to Friday's closing price, the companies said.

This acquisition will fit very well with our strategy to grow abroad with mobile primarily within our current footprint within the context of market consolidation, Telekom Chief Executive Rene Obermann said in a statement.

He added: We can realize significant synergies on the cost side and improve our market presence.

The deal is subject to regulatory and SunCom shareholder approval and is expected to close in the first half of 2008, Telekom added.

Shares in Deutsche Telekom were 0.6 percent lower at 13.59 euros by 0755 GMT, slightly outperforming a 0.7 percent drop on the German blue-chip DAX index.

SunCom, founded in 1999, operates in the southeastern United States and in the Caribbean. It had more than 1.1 million customers by the end of June and posted second-quarter revenue of $242.5 million.

The acquisition will further enhance T-Mobile's network coverage through the addition of SunCom's markets and customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Deutsche Telekom said.

Obermann said in March he would pursue acquisitions in the mobile phone sector, which is expected to see continued growth.

Deutsche Telekom, Europe's largest operator measured by sales, last month won permission from the European Commission for its T-Mobile Netherlands unit to buy the Dutch unit of rival France Telecom's Orange division.