Listening In To The AT&T Investor Call On T-Mobile

We’ve been listening to the AT&T Press Event this morning regarding the AT&T/T-Mobile agreement and it’s a doozy.  First and foremost, let’s be real clear.  AT&T is going after T-Mobile spectrum in a big way.  Complementing AT&T’s own 700 MHz LTE spectrum with T-Mobile’s 1700 MHz AWS frequency will help AT&T deploy LTE to 95% of the American population.  That’s 46 million more people than AT&T had hoped to be able to roll out LTE to, based on their current spectrum holdings.

There was plenty to be said about how this deals makes sense from the standpoint of complementary technologies and how that will ensure a smooth transition for the consumer.  Improving network quality, an obvious eyesore for AT&T, is the big kicker here.  They are going after spectrum and are obviously paying for it.  AT&T expects data usage to jump 8 to 10 times in overall usage in the next 5 years and they believe this deal gives them more than enough spectrum to handle that kind of growth.

Another salient point is that the new combined entity will offer “dual-band” phones that will allow them to offer service on combined towers providing best in class coverage.  There were plenty of sound bites regarding the improved coverage opportunity for T-Mobile customers.  Since both companies run common technologies, both AT&T and T-Mobile will benefit once the deal closes and networks are integrated.

So how is this good for the customer?  According to Ralph de la Vega, AT&T Mobility CEO, there are 5 ways to show how beneficial this is for both companies.

1) The combined entity will enhance the customer voice and data experience with world class network experience with HSPA+ and LTE capabilities.  Paired with a “best in class” portfolio of smartphones and connected devices, AT&T believes this will be a great deal for customers.  As an extra bonus, AT&T believes they offer a superior value with a 90+ million customer m2m network along with rollover.

2) This allows both companies to grow the average revenue per unit thereby making the deal financially viable for the new combined AT&T to thrive.

3) Improving churn will require significant focus on the T-Mobile front as AT&T hopes that with the nation’s largest mobile 2 mobile scope, they can entice customers to stay.  AT&T is convinced with their experience from the Cingular merger they are prepared for the challenge in immediately working to reduce customer churn.

4) Expanding the margins of the companies. This is a strictly financial thing. Yawn.

5) AT&T combined with T-mobile can seize opportunities such as providing LTE service to 46 million more people including rural areas that AT&T otherwise wouldn’t have been able to provide.

So there you have it, a summary of today’s AT&T Press Event.  So what did we learn?  Well, I don’t think anything here was earth shattering as we fully expected that AT&T and T-Mobile would combine spectrum to provide a greater LTE and customer experience.  The semantics of how that would be performed was of course that T-Mobile’s AWS band would be retooled for LTE and HSPA+.  Customers will hope to gain an enhanced coverage map with less gaps in coverage and, of course, less dropped calls and more reliable data.  Also stated in the Q & A portion was that AT&T would not keep all T-Mobile towers.  Overlapping towers such as those less than a mile from one another may be looked at as cost-cutting measures.  Customers with AWS handsets will be migrated into newer handsets that run off 850/1900 band to make way for LTE on the AWS bands.

It’s apparent there are plenty of unknown questions up to and including what happens to employees and staff from a combined company.  This is likely to dominate our headlines for the next few days so stay tuned as we try and go more in depth and learn more!

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  • TMO_Emp

    what .. will .. happen .. to .. the .. employees ……….. and i hate to lose my $35/mth employee plan.

    • Jabbajabba

      $35 A month? What the heck do you have on your plan? Mine is $16 tops with PHP.

      • Jeffery Eckford

        mine is only 55 with three phones lol

  • TMO_Emp

    what .. will .. happen .. to .. the .. employees ……….. and i hate to lose my $35/mth employee plan.

  • Greg O.

    The Empire is striking back at the Rebels. AT&T has been broken up before in the ’80s (i.e. the 1st Death Star), they rebuilt again, and now they’re gobbling up what I think is the valid competition out there because of their system compatibilities.

    I’ve been with T-Mobile since it was Voicestream in 2001. I’m not sure if this deal is the best for its current subscribers. Yes, I see wider coverage and more access to newer phones as pluses, but the most important thing for me is price. That’s the reason I’m still with T-Mobile. If my plan gets grandfathered, that’s great, if not I’m going to have to look elsewhere.

    • Anonymous

      whats good with a grandfathered plan if you will not be able to use your current phone because comparabilities issues, at&t will force you to buy an other phone and you will have to sign a new contract.

  • Anonymous

    What I want to know is this:

    Since T-Mobile’s 3G runs at a different band than at&t and at&t has stated they will be shutting down that band for 3G, will T-Mobile continue to upgrade their 3G network at this point? I would think not. Yes, it’s a year until the merger is complete and then probably another year until things are merged but starting RIGHT NOW, why would T-Mobile put money into a 3G network that will be gone in a couple years.

    The 3G network here in the Seattle area is unreliable as it is now. I have dropped calls/messages, cut outs, etc etc. If I force my phone to EDGE, it’s fantastic. I now have no hope that the 3G will be fixed at th is band. So it seems I should get out now wouldn’t you think?

    • andrzejn

      Totally agree there is no reason for TMO to update their existing network

  • Anonymous

    This is not good for TMO period. ATT gets all the benefits, we have all been trained to talk about our customer service which is awesome but bottom line is – ATT will get rid of a lot of employees, (call centers and stores) because they don’t them. No need to keep duplicate stores, call centers or kiosks.

    As far as the rate plans go, once the merger (yeah right), takeover is complete customers have 30 days to figure out what they want to do and cancel without penalty if they so choose. Otherwise you can keep your rate plan…but, as soon as you need to add new features or change your phone, you will have to change your rate plan.

    The aforementioned is how it usually works.

    NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS. Hope it doesn’t go through and we get the 3 billion out of it:)

  • Jimmie

    I’m an 11th year T-Mobile employee and I fear the worst. I’m guessing since AT&T is union, their employees will retain their seniority over the newbie disposable T-Mobile employees. All we’ve done over the years with thin staffing, long hard hours worked and missed family time will be for nothing. If it’s an AT&T employee or T-Mobile employee, I’m sure T-Mobile will get the shaft.

  • Quagmeyer

    Dont be so sure. Its a way for ATT to squash the unions. I started with ATT BELL after college and went thru it all. More than you know. Trust me.

    It shall be they that get el shafto.

    Say so long to the Union hacks!

  • sadcustomer

    Everybody talks about improved data and coverage, but what about customer service? The original AT&T, though it was a monopoly, had excellent customer service. It was broken up due to complaints from other companies trying to compete – not due to any customer issues. (I’m old – I know!) This AT&T isn’t AT&T – it’s primarily the old “baby Bells” and Cingular, merged and having taken the name because customers believed in AT&T. The Bell companies and Cingular had terrible customer service.

    I’ve been with TMO since 2002, after leaving AT&T and Sprint due to issues with my wireless accounts. I’ve had only a couple of issues with TMO in 8 years, and all have been quickly corrected to my satisfaction. You TMO employees on here (and elsewhere) are great! You know what you’re doing, and you answer questions with a smile.

    Nobody at TMO has accidentally turned off my account and taken 2 weeks to turn it back on (as a different account number, since the old one was now no longer valid), situated my account at a wrong address, given me someone else’s account and repeatedly told me that I was high or something because I told them my Internet was working fine while they insisted that it was not even turned on, billed me for a closed account and took 6 months to correct the issue (each month I had to call them and have them move my payments to the correct account while the correct account was being marked as unpaid and scheduled for shutoff), and more… I have had dry DSL with AT&T for only 3 years and have had all these issues and more. I’ve had to deal with their clueless customer support at least 2-3 times per year (plus once a month for that 6-month long debacle). Lovely, eh?

    I’m definitely going to be “churning” if AT&T buys TMO. I don’t have wireless with them, or U-Verse, because I don’t want any other account issues to handle. If TMO had something that could run my home network, I’d have dropped the fake AT&T and never looked back. We were just waiting to see how our friendly, knowledgeable Magenta’s new MiFi device would look. Now, we have to wait to see if TMO gets lost in the bowels of the most horrible company I’ve had to deal with in the last 3 years – just like my DSL accounts were.

  • Canyouhearmenow

    By the buy this was all telegraphed when they stopped working the backhaul. Tmoisslow was all over this. Why should they. Brilliant move on their part. ATT will do it as LTE.

    Keep talking about that 42M modem. Yeah, like that will happen. Can you say dupped!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SkyPirate600

    the government should do something RIGHT this time, and not allow at&t to buy tmo! this will 1) limit competition 2) create a monopoly 3) some people will lose jobs. besides, if they say no at&t will have to give TMO 3 BILLION DOLLARS!! that will really help with tmo’s struggling company. plus, at&t said they would give tmo roaming things, making tmo’s coverage on par with at&t’s (well thats what tmonews said at least). so everyone hope the gov. says no. we keep our great prices, evade at&t’s horrible (customer) service, get better phones (that money could help– tmo will be releasing a whole bunch of phones at once soon- like seven new ones anyway), and get better coverage. im praying ‘at&t-mobile’ does not go through.

    • remister

      We can, as consumers, have the right to petition. Even though we are not stockholders, we are shareholders within the background!

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure churn will be greatly improved since there is nowhere left to go.

    I despise AT&T. They project increased data usage . . . which they’re then going to strangle in the cradle through usage caps, both mobile and DSL.

    I’m sure it will go through. It has been decades since the government saw a merger it didn’t like. Antitrust law barely exists any more, and what little there is left is managed by agencies that have been captured by the industries they regulate.

    The clear endgame of AT&T’s strategy is to lock you into a world where all options for data access except those owned by AT&T are inordinately expensive. In the end, your data will be metered (this is what the DSL move is all about) and the meter will run faster for non-AT&T sources.

  • SnittyKitty

    I’m fine with this decision. T-Mobile in their press statement made it clear that our plans won’t change and it’s not like who among us has a say in all of this anyway? If..if the combined companies now merge all their coverage areas together; right off the top that saves my family a chunk of money; currently AT&T and T-Mobile do not share roaming areas where towers are located in rural locations and small towns throughout Alabama and Georgia well away from cities of any size. I look forward to being able to have an AT&T signal where there is no T-Mobile signal and they merge their coverage. It was a good run while it lasted….for us…it was PowerTel, VoiceStream, T-Mobile and sometime within the next two years, AT&T. It’s amazing to think AT&T’s former baby bell NYNEX now Verizon is its overall main competitor now; first the big divorce and now everything appears back as it once almost did a couple of decades ago but only in name only.

    • remister

      Sadly that isn’t true. If you are a Tmobile customer without 4g bands in your phone that support AT&T, you will be forced into a new plan… I know I wont be able to keep my non contracted plan with unlimited data. This change is not for the better, but for the worse!

  • Lilbroabi25

    Iam confused. So are they saying after the merger only tmobiles aws band won’t work only 4g lte and hspa+ will work? If so then all of tmobiles hspa+ phones will still work?

    • remister

      Since AT&T and TMOBILE uses different DATA BANDS, AT&T state that they WILL NOT service TMobile data bands. So if you decide to keep your 3G/4G phones to use with AT&T, you will only get EDGE data service. This is where all Tmobile customer will be forced into AT&T dictatorship non-unlimited data plans.

      We should start a petition of going against this monopolistic change. It is now up to the goverment to decide if should go through and we as consumers should have a voice in it…

      “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

  • sadcustomer

    Yeah, SnittyKitty – they say that now. My bank was recently acquired by another bank. For the couple of years that the merger took to go through, they kept saying “everything will stay the same, only the name will be changing”. The merger completed in September, 2010. In October, they sent out notices that the fee schedules and account types were all changing, effective January 1, 2011. When we got notice in February that the new bank is now being acquired by another bank, we started moving everything into a credit union that’s been around for ages with excellent customer service.

    The point is that they can say what they want until the merger is completed – then they’ll be able to change what they want regardless. And, they will. Congrats on keeping your $2.99 plan so far, though. We had one of those, too, til we got smartphones and they started requiring a new data plan with every smartphone. Things do change, and I can accept that. But with the service I’ve had with AT&T, if it has to be Verizon ’cause no one else is left, that’s what it’ll be – or we may consider going without cell phones once again. Ouch! Cricket? Boost? ???

  • SkyPirate600

    i feel so bad for tmo that they were for sale– they had the best cheapest and most honest dealings in the business but sadly it wasnt enough :(

  • Payton

    “Expanding margins” isn’t a “yawn” if you’re one of the countless employees — including the ones who give us T-Mobile USA’s award-winning customer service — who will get laid off in the quest to cut costs and expand the margins.

  • Maggotsmarigolds

    I hate to say but I work for A ( . ) & ( . ) and those of you fortunate to have T-Mobile, an honest company, are about to get bent over and F****D.  Jump ship while you can. 

  • Maggotsmarigolds

    I hate to say but I work for A ( . ) & ( . ) and those of you fortunate to have T-Mobile, an honest company, are about to get bent over and F****D.  Jump ship while you can.