With The AT&T Deal On The Rocks, Where Does T-Mobile Go From Here?

While we’re excited by the news that AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile looks all but dead, I’m fearful that T-Mobile’s darkest days may still be ahead. While analysts, press, bloggers and the like all predict this deal will now just drag on until AT&T decides to finally throw in the towel, T-Mobile has to suffer the consequences of such actions.

Given the news that AT&T is prepared to offer even more concessions in order to appease the Department of Justice, the company seems convinced it can still push this deal through, all while dragging T-Mobile through the mud. Morale, marketing and continued attempts at customer gains are thrown into the wind as T-Mobile still is seen as kowtowing to AT&T’s whim until the very last day. If AT&T promises to fight until the DOJ renders a decision, we’re talking at least the end of February into March at the earliest before we could see AT&T pull out altogether. That is unless AT&T decides not to fight the DOJ and give up before then.  However, its recent language leads us to believe otherwise. At this point, AT&T has to wait for the FCC to reply to its request to withdraw the application. The FCC can respond in one of three ways:

• The FCC can allow AT&T and Deutsche Telekom to withdraw their application   without prejudice allowing the companies to refile their application at any time. This is the most likely scenario.

• The FCC can allow the proceeding to end with prejudice, meaning the companies would be unable to resubmit their applications later. This would effectively kill the deal as AT&T would require FCC approval to transfer spectrum from T-Mobile to its own network.

• The FCC can go forward with its decision to hold a hearing and send the case to an administrative law judge thereby denying the petition to remove their applications. The hearing itself would begin after the Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit concludes. Regardless of the decision by the FCC, public interest groups are requesting the FCC publish its findings in order to determine how the FCC came to its decision to request a hearing.

The FCC decision could spell the end for the AT&T-T-Mobile deal before the Department of Justice case even begins. On top of the FCC response, the next court hearing for AT&T-T-Mobile is November 30th in front of Judge Huvelle where AT&T could present its new proposal to sell off as much as 40% of T-Mobile’s assets in an effort to appease the Justice Department. How or if Judge Huvelle will address the FCC decision to hold an administrative hearing and will it affect her expedited schedule for the case remain to be seen. Along with the Judge Huvelle update, November 30th marks the FCC’s monthly meeting. Though AT&T isn’t on the agenda for the day, it’s likely it will come up in some capacity, at the very least after the meeting is over when remarks are made to the press.

November 30th aside, let’s look at another proposal a number of you like to consider. The Department of Justice language has indicated that it wants to keep a four pony race going in the wireless industry, all but eliminating a potential buyout by Sprint as many of you suggest would be the next logical step. Not to mention Sprint has to finalize their Clearwire, Lightsquared and LTE plans before even attempting to come up with enough cash to make Deutsche Telekom a serious offer. DT knows it will likely never see another bid as high as $39 billion, but I don’t think it will accept the first offer once AT&T withdraws its bid either. Sprint may not be able to meet DT’s terms, not to mention have enough cash to continue its own network buildout, all while avoiding the the nightmares that were endured due to incompatible networks with Nextel.

Moving on, we’d be remiss if we didn’t return to our earlier statement regarding the possibility that T-Mobile’s darkest days still lay ahead. Without a potential buyer, plans to further build up the network beyond the next two years or opportunities for massive customer gain, T-Mobile still needs one hell of a plan to compete. It’s likely, in fact it’s almost a certainty, that will only happen with another buyer, be it a private equity group, cable company or an overseas telecom carrier making a play. A buyer will have to be willing to not only meet Deutsche Telekom’s asking price, but also throw in enough money to raise T-Mobile’s profile and enhance its network. That’s a tall order, even for companies with plenty of cash on hand.

T-Mobile’s biggest hopes lie with becoming a scrappy competitor in the value market, putting the grind on companies like Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS, Leap, Cricket and, to some extent, Sprint. If T-Mobile is left standing on its own, it will, as some have predicted, implement a “Plan B” alternative and fight harder for the lower end of the market. This market is currently a stronghold for the likes of Metro, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Leap and even Sprint in the form of value pricing and “unlimited data.”. T- Mobile could emerge from this deal as a national player in a value market with a super fast network enhanced by acquired assets from an AT&T deal breakup and work with a revitalized focus on capturing a larger share of the prepaid market.

If the deal fails, MetroPCS and Leap lose an opportunity to enhance their own networks as they were said to be in talks with AT&T to acquire divested T-Mobile spectrum. However, MetroPCS has gone on record stating it is not interested in transitioning into a national carrier. AT&T’s failure to close this deal will ensure T-Mobile begins to look at markets controlled by the likes of MetroPCS and turn its attention in that direction. In effect, the collapse of this deal is worse for MetroPCS, Sprint and Leap than the passage of it. If the deal did indeed pass, the market for value customers could increase exponentially as T-Mobile customers look for alternatives rather than sticking with AT&T’s already high-price monthly rate plans. Those customers could flock to lower- priced carriers in the hopes of maintaining T-Mobile-level monthly pricing.

The biggest winner from all of this will undoubtedly be Verizon which will continue its strategy of maintaining what is arguably the nation’s most reliable network while all of the companies involved in this deal try and salvage the remnants. AT&T, who claims to be in quite a “spot” and needs spectrum immediately, will not only lose the opportunity to gain T-Mobile’s spectrum but it will also be forced to hand some over as per the agreed upon breakup fee.

Shifting gears again, we need to touch base on the elephant in the room…the lack of the iPhone on T-Mobile’s network as it still leaves them as odd man out in a four pony race. T-Mobile has thrown its lot in with Android and for good reason, but the lack of an iPhone is still hurting its image even if it isn’t drastically hurting its customer gains. If T-Mobile were to suddenly gain the iPhone on its network it would help the image, but it wouldn’t suddenly turn around the company’s fortunes. While a number of reasons have been floated as to why T-Mobile isn’t carrying the iPhone, one of the reasons being floated is T-Mobile isn’t seen as a safe bet and with Apple requiring the manufacturing of a specialized chip inside iPhone for T-Mobile’s bands, they clearly aren’t producing it.

T-Mobile employees and customers deserve an end to this AT&T nightmare, in one direction or another. For those of you who opposed the merger right from the get go or jumped on the bandwagon eventually, the deal finally appears to be dwindling down and most analysts give it a slim chance at best to succeed. That’s the good news. The bad news is that T-Mobile’s fortunes are still heading in the wrong direction and while the AT&T deal drags on to the bitter end, the company continues to operate like it’s an AT&T pawn.

It’s the end of the Thanksgiving weekend and we’re thankful that the AT&T nightmare looks less likely than ever but, as T-Mobile fans, employees and customers, we’re not out of the woods yet. There is still a long, dark road ahead and we can only hope that T-Mobile finds a bright shining light to guide us through.

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  • Ramon

    I’ve been asking myself the very same question. “What happens to T-Mobile if the merger doesn’t go through?”
    It doesn’t look good for T-Mobile customers that’s for sure. DT definitely wants out of the US market…. PERIOD. That’s a fact they are not trying to hide. So if ATT doesn’t buy the, someone else will and sorry but I’d rather be with ATT rather that some cell company or companies I never heard of or know anything about. My mother and brother just left ATT for Metro and the call quality is so bad I could barely understand her on Thanksgiving Day.

    Basically my point is we (most of us) gave 2 thumbs down to this deal as soon as we heard of it. But truth be told , ATT may be the best thing for the customers of a carrier that doesn’t even want to be here.
    Even if they stayed, its hard to imagine tmo will ever evolve or be as competitive as they once were.

    • http://twitter.com/BruceCLin Bruce Lin

      No, just no. The reason that lots of us gave two thumbs down and spitted on this deal as soon as we heard it is because it is history replaying here. It’s nothing new to AT&T. Already happend, monopoly ensued, government broke it up. If left unchecked, AT&T WILL buy up the whole telecom market sooner or later.

  • Win Win?

    Can’t they sell the spectrum to AT&T and lease back spectrum from them?  Can they do this and remain an independent company?  Can they use this to transition off of the 1700 mhz data band and move to one that is more in line with the rest of the world?  And also have a path forward to LTE without spending $$$ capital investment to get it?


      What do you mean in line with the rest of the world? Others own this band too. MetroPCS is using it for their LTE and AT&T owns a decent chunk of it as well. They are just saving it for when they need it. And the other half of our AWS band IV is 2100MHZ which is widely used in europe and asia. 

      • Win Win?

        I’m pretty sure AT&T uses 850 MHz and 1900 MHz for 3G and T-Mobile US uses 900MHZ, 1700MHz and 2100 MHz.  That’s why the two networks don’t play nice together.  It would be nice if we could wean ourselves off of the odd frequencies and become one with the AT&T mud while remaining independent is all I’m saying

        • http://tmonews.com David

          T-Mobile does not use 900, they do use 1700 and 2100. AT&T does own some spectrum in 1700 as well.

        • Frigadroid

          On slow news days might I suggest some technical blogging to help educate us less informed & hardcore phone junkies? Perhaps chronic gripers like myself would be less critical of tmobiles performance if we had a proper unbiased understanding of the voice & data processing.

        • http://tmonews.com David

          Actually, I’m thinking about adding a new feature to the blog where I try and answer some reader questions that I either discover in the comments or arrive via email or social media. This would be a fantastic question to help answer.

        • http://twitter.com/BruceCLin Bruce Lin

          It is AT&T that has the odd spectrum in the world scale, not T-Mobile.

        • Win Win?

          If AT&T has the odd data frequencies, then why does Duetsche Telecom (T-Mobile EU) have the iPhone in Europe?  The iPhone is not available on the T-Mobile US 1700/2100, but is avaliable for the “odd AT&T” spectrum in Europe?  That’s why I was suggesting that T-Mobile US is the oddball.  I know this isn’t about the iPhone, but the odd frequencies that T-Mobile US uses are one of the primary reasons we don’t have one, right?  All I’m suggesting is that we find a way to give AT&T the spectrum they apparently need to build out their LTE, and then lease whatever spectrum we can from them rather than trying to build out a parallel LTE network.  

  • http://twitter.com/LTEstyles LTEstyles

    This is exciting yet sad at the same time, yes the majority of us don’t want the evil company that is AT&T running the show but who will save us from them? What company has the knowledge and experience to run a #4 mobile operator. My contract is up with T-Mobile, and i REALLY don’t want to leave, I keep trying to hold off and see what might happen, truth be told these penny sales going on elsewhere is enticing. I’ll never join a metroPCS type company, i already know quality wont be like any of the big 4. I just hope a group of investors won’t buy T-Mobile, that’s just as worse, those people while squeeze the life out of T-Mobile, squeeze it for every penny it’s got, like a meaner AT&T if you will. Oh well, i will continue to hold off. AT&T is getting all the nice Windows Phone not T-Mobile. *sigh*


    until t-mo has the breakup fee in their pocket, they must tread water.

    after that, they must do something innovative and way ahead of the curve.

    i got my fingers crossed, any alternative sucks.

  • http://twitter.com/bluechrism Chris Martin

    Once this is confirmed dead, i can tell you there will be at least one new contract customer (currently rolling on an EvenMore plus plan).  I don’t know how many others are in a similar situation, but given the response to the deal on this site at the time, i bet there are a significant number who will sign a new 2 year with t-mo once this is dead.
    I just hope they manage to land a few new Windows Phones (as well as good andoid stuff) by then. Nokia Lumia 800 please.

  • Ignorance_is_Bliss_

    The AT&T/T-Mobile is the best option for T-Mobile. A few weeks ago, DT announced that it will not make any further investment with it assets overseas A.K.A T-Mobile USA. DT invests or rather invested $6 billion annually to further develop its operation with T-Mobile USA. However, with hundreds of thousands of customers leaving T-Mobile every quarter, DT can no longer make a return on their investment. If DT cannot find a buyer or figure out a master plan anytime soon, it will only be a matter of time before T-Mobile USA is filing for bankruptcy. What the average consumer doesn’t understand is that T-Mobile can no longer compete in the wireless industry. They have no competitive edge, they no longer have anything that sets them apart from the competition. Many eons ago, T-Mobile was well known for being competitively priced, however, with companies like Metro PCS and Boost Mobile, they can’t afford to lower their price plans even further while staying afloat. People believe that the iPhone can save T-mobile but the truth of the matter is that it will take more than just a phone to save T-Mobile. Apple seems to believe so as they have the iPhone on a regional carrier (C Spire) rather than a nationwide carrier (T-Mobile). It would take T-Mobile billions of dollars to land an iPhone deal, money which they don’t currently have for a phone. The monthly rate plan for an iPhone on all 3 major U.S carriers is roughly $80-$85. Verizon has the best coverage, AT&T the fastest data, and Sprint truly unlimited Data (although the data speeds are deplorable). If the iPhone was to come to T-Mobile what would they have to set them apart from the competition? More than likely customer would have to sign up for a $79.99 classic plan as apple has an input on the rate plan and service type that customers would have to sign up with. Others believe that Sprint will acquire T-Mobile. There’s just too many reasons why that would not happen. First, CDMA and GSM integration would be a nightmare for both carriers, if anyone has(d) sprint/nextel or worked for them they would understand. Sprint themselves doesn’t know which direction to go in as they build a Wi-Max 4G network only to begin an LTE 4G network instead. Sprint doesn’t have enough cash at hand for a buyout as they are looking to investors for their LTE rollout and help clearwire with theirs as well. Lasty, the FCC and DOJ would like T-Mobile to remain as an independent company and a major player in the wireless industry. If they AT&T/T-Mobile merger fails, I would abandon ship with T-Mobile. Their future is unsure and will not survive with the aid of the parent company DT

    • http://twitter.com/BruceCLin Bruce Lin

      Everything you said is about right. However, the point you missed here is that most customers do not care what’s best for T-Mobile. It’s just another carrier. What we as customers cared is what’s best FOR US. If the buyout goes through, it’s bad for every single mobile customer in the long run.

    • Tbyrne

      Some good points there…..Randall!

  • Tupperlady823

    I am so glad I don’t work for them anymore. It was bad before I know the employees are going to suffer for this.

  • EH

    What ever happens tells me that the consumer is the looser here. All I wanted from any company was fair treatment and respect. T-Mobile has always come through for my family whether we were in the states or out of the country. When ever I needed help with any kind of problem, the company responded with good suggestions and went out of their way to help.
    Innovation was looked at with thoughs of the needs of the consumer with WiFi calling when in an area without great service for example. I was one of the first to jump on the G1 bandwagon since the iPhone did not interest me.
    I only hope that the consumer will.not be left with very little choice, high cellphone bills, and poor service.

  • Frigadroid

    I bought the vibrant day one on contract so I’m not going anywhere soon. I have been loyal from the start and I plan to ride it out till the end.

    With my pessimistic outlook I was wrong about the AT&T deal passing and now I fear something worse.

    I realize at&fee suks but my selfish side thought I would be able to finally get phone coverage when I visit my friend’s place on the lake and family in kentucky.

    Once again I suffered tmobile embarrassment at the louisville/ohio game friday night. While I couldn’t even send a text or get the web. My buddy was texting away and checking the web for scores on his tiny screen at&t iphone :( Come on tmobile Louisville is bigger than most of the cities with 4g. Edge and sometimes G is not acceptable in a major metropolitan area. I hope that what ever happens if tmobile remains that they would work first on coverage without that all their phones are useless.

  • Snapdragon S4

    I have a question. Has anybody ever heard of America Movil? It is owned by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim. Maybe they can make an offer. They are based in Mexico City and use HSPA+ networks.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HT457IS27247NLNFV2POBP43RU Nakia

      Have you ever actually had to call Tracfone customer service?  I would not want this to happen. 

      • Snapdragon S4

        Strange. I used to work for Radio Shack and I’ve had experience calling pretty much all of the major and minor providers bar Verizon. Tracfone were pretty easy to deal with. Who do you recommend that should buy T-Mobile?

  • 72anthony

    T-Mobile needs to be purchased by ATT. DT and T-Mobile are already done with us and want to exit. Why not have someone who WANTS us!

    • Cityofnewyork3000

      Why does everyone think At&t are the only ones interested in buying T-Mobile? You know Vodafone was actually trying to buy T-Mobile before At&t swooped in with an over payment just to get rid of a competitor in the process and thereby attain a monopoly on GSM. Anyone with half a brain can see this.

  • Snapdragon S4

    I forgot to mention that America Movil is the fourth largest mobile operator in the world after China Mobile, Vodafone, and Telefonica.

  • http://www.unscripted360.com Deacon

    i’m glad this was written .. now say it again louder for those who can’t hear .. IF THIS DEAL DOESN’T GO THROUGH TMO IS IN A HUGE BIND … people who wanted this deal dead and were so eager to say loudly that TMO is better off and will all of sudden succeed beyond comprehension are uninformed bordering clueless.

    i’ve said all along although it isn’t the best thing, it is the needed thing to happen.  i’m interested in the aftermath and when there is no TMO option anymore .. how will those same people respond lol

    • ogopogo

      Someone else will buy T-Mobile.

      And that’s the point that you are having a hard time with. Most of us do NOT want AT&T to buy T-Mobile – just about  anyone else is fine.

      AT&T is extremely restrictive – You want free WiFi calling with AT&T? It isn’t going to happen. You want free hotspot with AT&T? It isn’t going to happen.

      But if you want to be gouged on your monthly bill, then yes, by all means, embrace AT&T. They will be perfect for you.

      T-Mobile is still showing a profit – even while being dragged through this acquisition. Because they have managed to keep their heads above water through this whole thing, makes them more viable to be purchased by another company.

      • http://www.unscripted360.com Deacon

        i’d argue that you really aren’t okay with just anyone else buying TMO lol .. be careful what you wish for when some private firm buys it and decides it’s better off as an insurance company lol

  • Plankton

    Fools! I warned you but you dont listen. My minions rejoice while you flale you arms in disbelief. My minions are reaping the reward of the patience. 

    BUT do not give up hope. The deal will go through. Trust me.  You will all see that I am more that what appears to be the lowest form of life in the food chain.

    The crabby patty formula shall be mine!

    • Guest

      Is Karen given you permission to do all this.   Better yet quit fooling around and figure out how she can power a cell phone for the rest of us. Maybe she can get with Sandy, thats a lot of brain power working on our cell phone problems.

      • Plankton

        Come join me Mr Guest. I have room for your type at the TOP!

  • JaysOn

    Too bad if the deal falls thru, DT will not use its $4 billion windfall to boost Tmobile.  But  you’re right, they might be smart to change the strategy and be the leader in the value market/prepaid.  Promote the 4G – if its truly better- have more and better quality phones than the other prepaids and deliver a better product.  Having been with prepaid now for a month, I can tell you its cheaper but the cust serv is awful.  And my first experience with an Android phone has been horrendous.  I was given the Exhibit 2 and have had nothing but trouble, and honestly can’t tell you if its the phone or Android in general.  I can say for certain that Samsung support has been horrendous; the reps have no clue what they’re talking about and have given me so much incorrect information, Ive given up on even contacting  them.  Also my phone has frozen constantly, I have to do a soft reset (take the battery out) almost every day – and have had to do 2 factory resets and wipe everything out and start over.  Just a nightmare situation.  With Google, there’s also no support.  And even though Ive only downloaded apps from Android Market that have millions of downloads with great ratings, my email has already been hacked for the first time ever – don’t think its a coincidence after a few weeks on Android.  I feel bad for the tmobile store employees- I went there the other day to get some help and have them at least reset my phone and sd and as usual, the employee was extremely helpful and sadly more knowledgable than the Samsung folks. The manager as always was great- even though it had been a year since he last helped me, he recognized me and came to chat…Of course, emblematic of Tmobile, while I was there, someone stole a phone, creating chaos and customers had to wait even longer while employees scrambled and alarms went off.  My experience with Tmobile lately has not been great- the only bright spot has been the local store employees…I don’t know if others have the same experiences.  I can tell you that I know in my gut that  I will eventually get an iPhone.   Everyone I know has one – and Ive started using a Mac.  It just seems it will be easier, and some of you like to call us sheep but I rather have a phone that I know will work and that I can get support if I have a problem.  That just doesnt exist with Android…I feel like Im left on my own to figure things out.  So Id rather have one phone that people can support than hundreds of phones that neither the carrier nor the manufacturer will support.  And Im tired of having a smart phone th at isn’t very smart — Constant problems, freezing, t urning itself off/on…etc

  • Wshelton

    (1) Deal is dead and has been dead from the day the lawsuit was filed. (2) If AT&T was to sell off 40% of TMO, that just proved the point that the buy-out was about reducing competition, not obtaining spectrum.  (3) TMO USA makes money, just not enough for DT.  (4) if DT want TMO USA to have the iphone it would have happened already. DT has lots of market power. (5) TMO can Lease LTE if that what it wants or needs to do. (6) DT will take the AT&T money and pay themselves bonus and not sink it into TMO USA.  (7) TMO owns it towers, a very value property, that someone will want. (8) TMO USA will still be here for a long time, maybe under a differant name, but it was Voicestream.

  • Ww88ww

    Without some better executive talent, it doesn’t matter as the ship will sink.  These overpaid sucks have been running things into the ground long before ATT nosed in.  Did the company have any kind of marketing talent, development strategy, anyone with healthy 6 figure salaries actually earning their pay even several years ago, not to mention now?  It’s ATT, other buy out, or breakup…those at the helm today won’t make a bright future.

  • Guesty

    tmobile doesn’t have to rush into lte should it stay ( atleast for 2-3 years) they can keep upgrading their hspa+ network with money and spectrum they get from att plus or minus a partnership.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZCTK3GH5NBQQQVYPZK4YSD35Q Herb Meister

    Google will buy T-Mobile and call it G-Mobile

    • prawnparty

      Good one HAHAHA

    • http://www.unscripted360.com Deacon

      one can dream lol

  • MrTechy

    I am definitely hoping that Google will come out of its shell and buy T-Mobile and knowing Google…..they can pull tricks out of a hat and make things happen. Let’s hope they make a private bid……like a silent predator seeking its prey at the right time…..Google will pounce when you least expect them to.

  • NO 2 ATT

    I have to wonder with all this going on, and have been pondering this for a while, is all of this just a good ploy by DT, to get more spectrum, and some funding for TMO-US, and also doing it much cheaper than actually buying spectrum. 

    Personally, if I knew that a deal like this has/had no chance of going through, and I knew the break-up agreement was as favourable as it is, I would have gone ahead with the “deal”.


      I believe it could be… while it may be wishful thinking… the idea that DT had it planned hasn’t slipped my mind since I first heard about this deal. Let’s hope all that wishful thinking pays off and it comes true.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    The Charge Of The T-Mobile Millions (A poem NOT with permission of Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

    Half a week, half a month,
    Half a year onward,
    All into the valley of Death
    Rode the T-Mobile millions.

    Forward, the TMOUS Faithful!
    Charge for the handsets David said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the T-Mobile millions.
    Forward, the TMOUS Faithful!

    Was there a man dismayed?
    Absolutely, as TMoNews knew.
    The faithful knew Deutsche Telekom had blundered:
    But theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do & die,
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the T-Mobile millions.

    Acquisitions to right of them,
    Dismayed Deutsche Telekom to left of them,
    MetroPCS in front of them,
    Volleyed & thundered;
    Stormed with new draconian TOS,
    Boldly TMOUS users rode, and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the T-Mobile millions.

    Flashed all their handsets bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air,
    Flaming the naysayers here and there,
    Charging the competition while
    All the world wondered.

    Plunged in battery-smoke
    Right through the line they broke;
    TMOUS users reeled from other’s handset stroke,
    Shattered & sundered.
    Then they rode back, but
    Not the T-Mobile millions.

    Acquisitions to right of them,
    Deutsche Telekom to left of them,
    Prepaid behind them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed with changes here and there,
    TMOUS handset users fell.

    TMOUS users fought so well
    Came through the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of the T-Mobile millions.

    When can TMOUS glory fade?
    O the wild charge you made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the charge TMoNews made!
    Honor the T-Mobile millions,
    Noble the TMOUS users!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks I am going to borrow this. 

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        That’s fine, but be advised I modified it just now, so you may want the updated version.

        • Plankton

          You are a genious, my friend. Too bad the fools did not heed my warnings and bought the handsets. Oh well.

          Prepare, my minions!

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Well I can definitely say that based on this story that one place AT&T and Deutsche Telekom will NOT be going is to lunch with the FCC:

    “AT&T is threatening to sue the FCC if it moves forward with a plan to hold a hearing on the troubled T-Mobile USA deal after the operator withdrew its application for the $39 billion merger.

    AT&T withdrew its FCC application to acquire T-Mobile’s spectrum licenses on Nov. 23, one day after agency Chairman Julius Genachowski said the agency was unable to approve the transaction and would circulate a draft order to send it to an administrative hearing, a major setback for the deal.

    AT&T says it pulled the application before the FCC voted on the order, preventing the agency from moving forward with its plans for a hearing.

    “We have every right to withdraw our merger from the FCC, and the FCC has no right to stop us,” AT&T senior executive vice president and general counsel Wayne Watts said in a Nov. 25 post on the company’s official blog. “Any suggestion the agency might do otherwise would be an abuse of procedure which we would immediately challenge in court.”

  • Anonymous

    TMO Should be sitting pretty even if the deal doesn’t go through.  They get $3B to use to build out more infrastructure, maybe LTE.  They would get more unused frequency from ATT. and get roaming agreements.  All in all I think it’s much better the deal doesn’t go through.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Sorry JR… if Deutsche Telekom actually gets that money (I suspect AT&T will either stiff DT or not pay it until 2013) DT will rathole the cash in DT’s European coffers. It will not put the money into TMOUS.

      Even if the $3 billion stayed in the U.S., in the overall scheme of things that is not much money.

      • Frank Jacobs

        Not to mention T-Mobile will still be on the auction block, and they know they’d only get a small percentage of any money they put into T-Mobile back when a sale is complete. They’re not going to throw good money after bad money.

  • kcsnyud

    Y cant they be independent?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jlaury John Laury

      Because they’re owned by another company that doesn’t want them anymore.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    This is the best written article I have ever seen on TMoNews and it sets out quite well a summary of the state of affairs to date.

  • Neovlad

    First, i do and do not care if this goes through as long as my job is there at the end of the day…With that being said, the longer this goes on I do think it hurts us at tmobile…2012 will be the year iphone comes to tmobile, inside source. we inquired about it for some time apple was making the 3 new phones for the other carriers so they didnt want to spend extra money for a tmo chipset. which is in the works as we speak…

    • Dana Fortner

      but when in 2012?  I’ve got an upgrade in april………(fingers crossed)

      • http://tmonews.com David

        Everyone and their mother says they have an inside source at T-Mobile who swears the iPhone is coming on X day. Not to knock those who spread these stories, but none of them have come true thus far sooo…please don’t spread them.

        • Magmaspawn

          Amen David. Inside source or not Tmo backing Samsung on what turned into a bash fest did’t expedite that. In the end, I am sure both companies are for money over some squabble. 

          My wife would get an I-Phone if tmob had one. I would not.

  • BigMixxx

    Great Article!

    Tell you something…divestiture works.  If this were any other company, we would be AT&T customers already. 

    Sad thing here is that T mobile is being taken through the ringer.  DT has put a mediocre executive staff together and applying a different set of rules.

    Where I don’t agree is with the value position.  I think t mobile is right priced for the business. ATT is flat out high and Verizon is oh so overpriced for the technology presented.  There is no question right now that ATT has the right thing going (LTE fast…hspa+ fast…hpsa/3g good…and far reaching arms) with it’s future network integration.

       A new carrier by name not T mobile (IMHO) should run right along with where home phone service should be.  As data gains footing, some things have gotten totally outrageous.  Value led companies like Metro and Leap aren’t looking for a significant presence in the market as they are meeting expectations of their customers.  US cellular is an outlier ripe for the pickings (C-Spire watch out).  A new Carrier could come in a sweep the bottom layer and provided the same value, if not more, that these carriers are offering now.

    LEt’s not forget, because ATT and DT say T mobile is worth 39 billion, it ain’t.  DT market cap right now is only 56 billion dollars, that 39 billion will make it look REAL good.
    There is no true value to T mobile; I’d put it right now at about 18 billion.  Enough to purchase smaller players and remain competitive as well as put Sprint into a bad position. If there is any opportunity for a German lead company to recoup anything would be to fund a spinoff with the help of a private equity fund.

    I see a T mobile surviving on it’s own, no question,  (With a leadership change of course) and some ground work to talk with each and EVERY store and customer to assure them of a company that will be around for the next 3 to 5 years.  iPhone could be the lynchpin to the success of a national value leader.  Remember iPhone customers = loyal customers, loyal customers = money….

    A google buy, I don’t see it.  If the Government is questioning the Search engine and how it works, then A mobile phone company purchase becomes a problem…easy….I would be surprised if they did.

    A Sprint buy..almost impossible….but not impossible.  Divestiture.  ATT has changed Several Times over the years so why can’t sprint (ATT, ATTGIS, NCR, Bell labs, lucent technologies, etc).  Centurylink would need to step in to help (by turning loose those Land Line customers that Sprint maintains).  it would really allow sprint and some banks to fund a merged company and a change in technology.

    This would keep ATT and Verizon from raping the market with high data plans (because that’s where the gold is and I’m waiting on this to be regulated as the push for Mobile phone technology continues) it would not keep those two companies from merging….but gives customers a national value leader that provides significant choice.

  • Greg

    As I look through the last day worth of responses, I notice a lot of people sounding like they think a turnaround can take place quickly. There aren’t going to be any quick fixes to the situation T-Mobile is in.

    Changing the leadership  — while it may be helpful, isn’t going to automatically make things better. A new CEO, CFO, and new management group are still going to be facing the same things the current ones are. A declining customer base, popular phones not available on our network, coverage issues, and the lack of planning for the future.

    A new owner is going to have to decide which way they want to position the company. Are they going to turn into a low cost, no frills provider? Or are they going to start trying to catch up to the big 3 and end up raising their rates? The current business model is not working, and hasn’t been for years, which is why I agree with David that we’re in for some dark days before things get better.

    I know a lot of people like the idea of $20 or $30 unlimited voice/data plans with our fast network. Sure, that’d be great for the consumer. We managed to eke out a profit last year by charging $100 for that. Cutting that revenue by 70%-80% is not going to help turn things around.

    Likewise, becoming “more customer friendly” and offering bigger discounts on phones for customers still mid-contract sounds nice and cheery and makes the customer smile, but it’s a big kick in the pocketbook.

     I’ve often said that the things many of us used to love about T-Mobile — frequent cheap upgrades, inexpensive plans, smartphones that didn’t require a data plan, etc — are exactly what’s gotten us to this point today. I hate to say it, but whoever ends up buying us is going to have to start running things less as a happy-land and more as a business inline with the competition.

    The last I read, it looked like at present rates DT would finally see a return on it’s investment in T-Mobile in about 20-25 years. Whoever ends up buying T-Mobile, be it Google, China Mobile, etc is not going to let it work that way. They’re not going to spend billions and billions on the company, then billions more to upgrade the network and hopefully attract customers, then sit looking at a 3-4% return per year.

    Anyhoo, I’m rambling now. I’ll be quiet.

    • BigMixxx

      so now to be sure….A lot of good thought here, but to be sure.

      there are a couple of phases for company turnaround…
      1)  The product must be valued, the complete portfolio to know exactly what the product is worth

      2)  T mobile has the right approach now, but what t mobile is doing to solicit the product is the wrong approach.  Take for example the very same device being offered on an ATT network is offered on T mobile’s network for 5 times the cost.  (unsubsidiezed) That’s a complete turnoff. 

      3)  Very similar product is being sold for 50 dollars more on T mobile’s network.

      IMHO, there is nothing in the store unsubsidized (outside of the amaze) that should go for more than 199 (unsubsidized). Keep thought simple in the store, i.e. the phone costs X, the plan costs Y…you want some accessories?  that’s what we understand.. simplicity….

      Keep the devices priced right and they really would come…People comparatively shop by nature.  Understand a couple of things:

      1)  That MyTouch line was horrible until the MyTouch 4g…diluted by a Great Device in the MYtouch 4G slide, Killed by either a direction shift in HTC or a shift in T mobile (I’m thinking HTC in this case).
      2)  Good move on the G2, bad move on the G2x…G-series brand is now dead because of LG and poor software development…Really…(How the hell do you mispell ‘Off’ in the camera settings).
      3)  MyTouch by LG, really? Really.
      4)  Amaze, Sensation, Galaxy S II, Sidekick, Blackberry, MyTouch Associates closely with HTC….people know and understand that name….Killed by MyTouch by LG and HTC directional change. (IMO)  MyTouch line should be rebranded and G series should be shopped for better vendors…hello motorola?    

      T mobile has high brand potential, Even higher upswing for value.  There is probably an additional 4 billion a year in profit in T mobile that some strong stabilization and leadership will help…

      • Greg

        You’re probably right — I know you’re more up on the corporate finance stuff than I am!

      • Magmaspawn

        I love everything you say except the G series with Motorola. Sure they cook up a good Vanilla. Thing is Vanilla isn’t cooked… That is why its good. Thats not them making it though.  Toss up any decent spec of hardware and your already legit when you do that.

        Bionix did a fantastic job with roms and made it big. Look at what Motorola did when they tried to put a spin on things… Motoblur? I’d say Motofail and google fail by buying it.

        Though I may come off in disagreement with Motorola, the no bake versions tend to require less work on manufactures parts to be aggressive with updates. At that point its a small fit to plug.

  • hi boys and girls

    .Let me start off saying thank you tmonews even having this site to begin with.

    I currently work for tmobile. I will not state where, what, and how long I worked for them.

    Now this is the problem with tmobile.. Well, there really is NO problem with them. I mean, largest 4g network, cheapest plans, largest carrier or open system android phones, and probably having better call center reps than our competitors (even though they’re not from the states).

    What’s going on that there’s this amazingly easy to use, stylish looking, trendy iphone that has phenomenal customer services when you walk into apple when you have a problem with your iphone. You can’t walk into a lg, htc, Samsung, and other manufacturers retail store if your os crashes or your screen breaks.

    I think it’s what tmobile don’t gets, and just needs to accept it. I mean at&t had to accept it for tmobile sidekick era that almost had at&t go out of business. So until they can figure something out, the only think we can do is stand tall and hold on tight.

    Yes tmobile failed in opening many indirect stores that all lead into illegal business practice. Yes tmobile failed having smart access with their $150 spending limit, and then members account suspension. Yes tmobile failed with flex pay having the member paying for 2 months in advance for anything. Yes tmobile failed for having microsoft handling the sidekicks servers that failed for all most 3 months straight. Yes tmobile failed as far as advertising a price plan and end up paying more (bait and switch).

    But, no tmobile did not fail in changing USA cell companies. Even though it’s time to give up on our playground style store, even really we should be putting on our hard hats to get ready for roofs falling on us.

    I have to say, but we lost much of our motivation and if we stay unmotivated its just going to make things 10 x worst.. Yes it’s hard for us to walk into work and only have 5 activations a week knowingly we use to do that a day. But on the up and up, we are still activating 5 lines a week.

    Now I always said if you want an iphone and your OK as far as paying $150 per a line a month, then it’s going to work for you. And if you want a phone just like an iphone and can only afford $80 then tmobile should be your provider.

    The problem persist for the fact these cell phones are now more like laptops where apple is a computer company. Att customers are more loyal because apple is loyal to the customers. Att could give 2 shits, if you have a problem with the software on your iphone the Apple Store is right on first floor. Tmobile can’t say that.

    OK, now so tmonews took a survey and come to find out there’s more iphone users on tmobile unlocked than Att. Even with the edge speed. Why?? Because they are cheap in price for street value. Hey, an $200 unlocked iphone works better than $450 g2x (yeah lg makes 1000 different things so you can tell they didn’t put much focus on their phones).

    Being and having tmobile is like eating sushi everyday and the one time it’s prepare bad you may not want to eat it ever again. And lately tmobile has been preparing bad sushi. I know tmobile intentions are good, trying to mix of the taste of the recipe, but not everyone taste are the same.

    Tmobile is slowly moving towards the european taste of a cell phone company(since they are from Europe). Matter of fact, if you ask me, the question is not if tmobile USA is moving towards the european style, the real question is when. In the meantime, tmobile will take years to move all our contract customers to non contract.. That’s right, I said it, EVERYONE. Every last drop of the non business lines, that the retail store work so hard for in the pass 10 years just to be on an unlimited $50 prepaid system

    So to sum up my story is this. Tmobile USA is in for a very bumpy ride, so hold on. We are going to be look down on, so stand tall. Many days are going to look the same, so stay motivated. And structures will fall apart, but stay strong.

    H.O.P.E. = hold on pain ends
    But let’s just hope our pay check doesn’t end :/