AT&T Inc.’s $1.2 billion deal to buy Leap Wireless International Inc. adds pressure on smaller competitors such as Sprint Corp. and Dish Network Corp. to bulk up through mergers and acquisitions of their own.

AT&T, the second-biggest U.S. wireless carrier, announced plans on July 12 to buy Leap for $15 a share in cash, offering a premium of 88 percent over the target’s closing stock price. The transaction gives AT&T more pay-as-you-go customers, along with airwaves to improve its network. Leap’s stock more than doubled to $17.16 as of 9:54 a.m. in New York.

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