U.S. Senate Subcommittee To Hold Hearings On Proposed AT&T/T-Mobile Deal

The United States Senate has announced that hearings will be held by the Senate Judiciary committee into the AT&T / T-Mobile merger to determine if consumer competition would be reduced in light of the merger. It’s fine and good to see that the Senate is taking up the proposed merger however the same situation occurred in the very same committee with the Comcast-NBC merger and that was ultimately approved so I’d keep any expectations in check.

Still, if you’ve been wanting to write to your Senator or Congressperson, now would be a really good time! Hearings will begin May 11th.


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  • michigan bandit

    Wow this could get done a lot sooner than later… not good

    • pantlesspenguin

      These hearings WON’T be short.

      • sure they will, didn’t you see how they handled the budget……oh wait….

    • 67_390_coupe

      Because our government is so efficient?

  • MagentaMadness

    It’s gonna happen. It is what it is…embrace it.

    • Mopar6464

      We better start lubing up if it does.

      • Deff

        lmfao i see what you did there haha

  • No

    It’ll happen…if the gov’t doesnt shutdown

  • Anonymous

    Could someone enlighten me as to how the comcast-nbc deal is similar to this ATT-Mobile deal? How was consumer competition reduced or was that not the case? Thanx.

    • Deff

      Because a bunch of bozos think that two huge companies are merging, and its like two other huge companies merging. NO. This is more similar to the Sirius / XM deal, and to be honest, I don’t think any of the Sirius / Xm customers were nearly as upset about their merger as the T-mo customers are upset about this merger. The Senate might take this into consideration, MAYBE just MAYBE something IS shady if this many people are upset. Then again, it IS the highly prestigious asinine US Government. -__-

    • Anonymous

      It’s not all that similar. The NBC/Comcast was more about vertical integration — in other words, there was concern that the merger of a giant media company (NBC/Universal) and a giant TV provider (Comcast) could cause issues down the road. For example, what if NBC decided to charge Comcast’s competitors more to carry their stations? Etc.

      This deal would be more like a Comcast/Time-Warner merger, or an NBC/CBS merger — horizontal, not vertical.

      • Anonymous

        Thanx, that makes sense to me now. The NBC deal COULD have lead to our cable bills going up(which they always do anyway) unless the Gov’t set some rules on they @$$.

        I came up with this paragraph:

        The FCC requires the new company to offer its content to online video distributors at “the same terms and conditions” that would be available to a cable or satellite TV operator — and it must offer the same terms and conditions.

        So ATT-Mobile may be forced to keep T-Mobiles fair pricing values. Wouldn’t that be a win. Who knows though I’m just shootin from the hip here.

  • Since when has any politician had a decent understanding of technology? They still think that they can regulate the Internet.

  • Money Talks people, if you think the government cares about it’s people than i feel bad for you. Not everything is a conspiracy but what makes you think a group of people will consider our the problem when they have a briefcase full of cash money sitting on the table? I REALLY REALLY don’t want AT&T to buy T-MOBILE, i never had AT&T but when i do price comparisons and data cap comparisons it baffles me how that company stays a float when you have T-Mobile? We will never know..If by some miracle the deal doesn’t go through what will the consumers think about T-Mobile USA and it’s parent company DT trying to ditch them?

    • And if At&T doesn’t cut off Simple Mobile, Than that’s where i am going. At least my mytouch 4g will work for another 2 years before it gets bricked.

      • Mopar6464

        Same here with my HD2.

    • Iamnn2000

      The reason AT&T was able to take a big share of the market was for the simple fact of having the iPhone. If it wasn’t for us as consumers to rely so heavily on user friendly products then AT&T would neve be where they are. That’s one of the reasons they ha to buy Cingular, if that never happen AT&T would be the one getting bought out right now.

      • I understand that the iphone is a consumer power house but that phone to tech savvy people really isn’t all that, 95% percent of the people that i asked who has an iphone said they bought it simply cause it was apple, they did not know the specs nor how to send there coordinates when trying to meet someone. smh..

      • Anonymous

        Just to be clear cuz a lot of people (including myself) have been confused about who bought who. http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/17/technology/cingular_att/

      • Iamnn2000

        That’s exactly what I’m point out at… The iPhone since it’s an “apple” everybody wants it, but to be honest any top of the line stood phone takes a s*** on the iPhone.

        • Iamnn2000

          Damn auto correct on this iPhone, Droid phone*

    • Anonymous

      “what will the consumers think about T-Mobile USA and it’s parent company DT trying to ditch them?”

      That’s what I want to know. Unless DT takes the $3B + Spectrum and publicly shows a strong commitment to keeping and advancing TMO USA then at least my belief in them will dwindle. Cheap plans and fast speeds along with great phones will keep me there though until we get the axe again.

  • Ash

    For once, don’t let these pass!!

  • Paul7379

    i agree with Rene if you have not watched the documentary the inside job watch it you will see how the government will handle this

  • Politicians need two things , money & votes . AT&T will give them the money . The false concern about competition they hope will give them votes . The AT&T lobby army is in full force . When taking the kind of campaign cash these guys are it is only appropriate that they atleast act concerned . I really thought about getting the g2x . It would seem the thing to really do would be to head to Verizon . I have only had phone service with TMO & AT&T . T-Mobile has been great . AT&T really screwed me over on multiple occasions . If anyone has heard that Randall Stephenson talk about the merger , his dishonesty is so blatant I’m trying to find it comical .

    • Anonymous

      Rock the G2x until it’s wheels fall off(that is if they do once on ATT). Let’s say you spend $200 on a TMO phone this month and use it for 15-20 month before ATT bricks it(if it becomes bricked), If you go to VZW this month and pay $XX.xx MORE per month on VZW for that same time frame then you end up spending the same $200.

      Might as well rock it out with TMO

      • Thanks for the advice . I will study the climate for the next month or two then act . This stupid merger has really gotten under my skin . If it was anyone but AT&T I wouldn’t be so upset .

      • Frigadroid

        I got to agree with the Pimpster. I will ride out my contract and keep paying the same. People who jump now most likely pay more in the long run. Besides if you love tmobile why leave them in a time of need? When it gets close to the end I might even upgrade to the latest penta band phone, unlock it then try to ride my same contract as long as at&t will allow.

  • Anonymous

    just another media play.they always covering the truth.every big corporate cares only for money not the customers or people’s opinion.this kind of news are useless knowing that the approval will go through.

  • Vibrant Addict

    Haha, I think I recall that same image either from a high school or college textbook.

    I hope this deal doesn’t go through, but money talks and AT&T has plenty.

    • Anonymous

      They are discussing how to avoid a Government shut down.

  • Come on Pass It!!! So T-mobile Nation can take over Big Blue

    • ummm….I think you have those 2 mixed up.

    • Anonymous

      are you high?

  • Anonymous

    It would be nice to see this get bogged down in Senate hearings just to watch AT&T stew and freak out (if the government doesn’t shutdown first). The crappy thing is that there are a lot of other things that the government should be focusing on. This will probably get bogged down and waste a lot of taxpayer money while other things should be focused on first (like balancing our budget without all the bickering and showboating).

    BTW, if the government were to shutdown, I think the first people to not get paid should be our congresspeople and senate people. I wonder if things would change if that were to happen.

    • Magenta Magic

      Instead, they cut our Armed Forces pay. But that’s a rant for another site…

    • Anonymous

      If some gov’t gotta miss a check then they all should miss a check.

      I’m a contractor at the Gov’t and our company is paid in advance so I’ll be gettin paid regardless thank God . They told us today that we will have to come in even though there will be nothing at all to do BUT at least I won’t miss any hours.

      Personally I don’t imagine more than a 2 day(weekend) shutdown

  • Anonymous

    well you’re just a little einstein arent you….

  • Farhan

    I hope they really put some thought into this. We can already see some small signs of negative effects on consumers based on the contract rate changes and price hikes AT&T and Verizon have been doing recently. Sure, we might get better coverage with the merger, but at what cost to the consumer?

    Without more competition, there is essentially no real incentive for the two big carriers (AT&T and Verizon) to focus on being price-competitive. And with cell phones being an integral part of our personal and professional lives, this merger is not a good sign for things to come.

  • Anonymous

    Many T-Mobile stores have already seen a downward trend in customers. Much of this is due to ill-informed people thinking that AT&T already owns T-Mobile.

    • Mopar6464

      Well Dah, what did they expect.
      What idiot would buy a phone from T-Mobile right now with a contract not knowing how bad AT&T is going to BEND YOU OVER when they take over.
      Smartest thing to do is wait until the last possible moment just before it’s a final deal(If Approved)and see if AT&T will be nice to the T-Mobile customers and let us be grandfathered in with our T-Mobile contract and prices.
      If so , then get the phone and contract you want then before it’s to late and the Death Star uses it’s real force and Screws You.

  • I got so pissed at TMobile for even CONSIDERING a buyout with AT&T that I cancelled both my lines and moved to Verizon last week. I feel so bad for TMobile employees and current subscribers. How can you sell out to a company with the WORST customer service?? I left AT&T for a reason…. I’m NOT going back!

    • Anonymous

      You are acting like t-mobile had a choice in the matter. T-mobile didn’t sell their souls to the devil… It was their accursed parent company that sold t-mobile!

    • Anonymous

      You are acting like t-mobile had a choice in the matter. T-mobile didn’t sell their souls to the devil… It was their accursed parent company that sold t-mobile!

  • Guest

    The deal is done, get over it. Simply Mobile will be simply gone.

  • craigers

    My concern is that if this is stopped Deutsch Telecom is still intent on ending its American division so no matter what T-Mobile USA seems doomed. I assume DT will pursue a sellout to Sprint if the AT&T deal goes down. Yes? No?

    • My concern is having AT&T over bill me again & again & again . And then getting rid of my land line , swearing never to have to do business with AT&T , so they can purchase my cell company and over bill me again & again & again …..

    • Anonymous

      You are correct, as well as others. I said long ago (well last year anyway) that DT wanted out of the U.S. if the price was right. If this deal is killed it’s not like the courts or Congress are going to force DT to continue to do operate a business it no longer wants to be in. Moreover, courts do not get involved in business dealings, all the more reason business decisions are made and enforced in boardrooms, not courtrooms.

      AT&T’s offer was a windfall for DT. So if the acquisition is not approved you can bet DT is going to be quite bitter. It might just say “fouck you all then” and sell off T-Mobile US piece by piece.

      Really though, who knows how DT will respond. Its desperate since DT is showing a loss in Europe. $39 billion would put DT in the black, make the investors happy and Obermann can save his job.

      If this thing gets messed up the TMOUS division will really get hurt because I suspect prospective customers are shying away from signing with T-Mobile and current subscribers are leaving the Company.

      Plus the entire infrastructure is collapsing, as T-Mobile’s best employees start looking for and finding jobs elsewhere. (When stuff like this happens the good employees are intelligent enough to get while the getting is good. They know that NOW is the time to leave the Company. Their employability increases if they can show HR they are employed and that TMOUS values the employee’s services.)

      I submit that this acquisition is no easy task to be dealing with. Humm has experience with this type of event/transaction, so on this acquisition news, I now think they brourght him in to handle the sale of the Company, not to improve things. (After all, when announced DT said he would take over officially in December 2010 or Jan 2011.

      Since we now know that the AT&T/DT talks commenced in December 2010, this seems proof that Humm was the acquisition guy, not new management, figuratively speaking.

  • Whoaboy

    DONE! this is not going to be stopped. we need some consolidation in the industry.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s get together and BOMB At&t’s HQ! lol

      • Dude come on, even in jest that’s a ridiculous thing to say. Apologize and retract.

        • Disobayish_1


      • Farhan

        Dude… for your own sake just say you’re sorry. You don’t want the FBI busting down your door.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah you all are right immaturity kicks in every now and then. I wasn’t thinking, my bad

      • Anonymous

        Phone Freak… you moron. Don’t you know that the nation’s security, law enforcement and intelligence services ALL have sniffer programs that search the Net for words like yours.

        Are you that dense, to not at least edit out that word. And to put it in all caps. Sorry, the “LOL” in your post won’t deflect attention to LE at least flagging this Site and maybe finding out who you are.

        If this was my site I would delete your post and ban your IP. I sure wouldn’t want LE looking around this site.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s get together and BOMB At&t’s HQ! lol

  • HansGruber

    There are some sinister forces at work here. Has anybody considered that Verizon may be behind this deal? How many people have defected to Big Red and their absurd pricing structure?

    I’m on top of it. I have sent in the most fearsome women who will bring these men to their knees. Carly looks better in her pink dress, fix it!

  • Carl

    How many customers were actually concerned about Comcast buying NBC? I don’t really remember that being a bid deal from a customer stand point.

    This however will be a very big deal from a customer standpoint because of the prices changes that will incur, so I don’t think you can really compare the two. It’s apples to oranges.

    • Mark

      NBC has many competitors. Although, I don’t think the merger was a good idea. I think Comcast is a terrible company. They never could get my cable installed even after four attempts.

  • Andreahenderson23

    I agree wit everyone below me that said money talks because sadly that’s how it rolls and at&t has plenty of it. I don’t know why many people are pissed off well in a way I kinda do but I mean cmon t-mobile customers just face it and learn to accept it cuz most likely this deal wil go tru.and there’s nothing u can do about it. U really think the senate and all those people care about what’s going to happen to t-mobile customers? NO! I bet they all have verizon. And as long ass at&t has the money that’s good enough for them cuz all thy care about the most is money and u guys know it. Sadly that’s how it is. I have at&t and I was just about to switch to t-mobile because I admir at&t is expensive and it sucks. But I think I will be going to verizon. Because if the deal goes tru which I’m ppretty sure it will it’ll be like having at&t all over again which I hate and I don’t want that..

    • done

    • Hvnlypnk

      Mee too. Thanks for posting this link. Better than stand by and watch this nightmare take place. Everyone please sign petition.

    • Monkeysalt69

      I was one of the first 300 to sign. Done and done.

  • Terrortot2003

    Only in America, they need to hold hearings on this??? Lets see, no competition for AT&T, they get to rape new and old customers. No real competitor for GSM, only Sprint and Verizon as other major carriers. Is price fixing illegal? Because that’s what were gonna get, pay our price or kick rocks, take it or leave it!!!!!! LONG LIVE T MOBILE (in our hearts).

    • Farhan


  • 4G_or_not_4G

    Is this the same senate part of the U.S. government that can’t seem to pass a budget??? Since this is pro business and anti average Joe…it will get approved…the hearings are just a show to act like they are doing something

  • MT3GS

    Is there a way for any of us to go and participate in those hearings? If a fellow T-Monews’er in DC loans me a couch, I’d be willing to go up there and spew my guts to the politicians working this deal out…

    • Well, here’s this from the Senate Judiciary website…

      April 7, 2011


      The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, has scheduled a hearing entitled “The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?” for Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:15 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

      Chairman Kohl to preside.

      By order of the Chairman.”

      They also have a link for the webcast set up so we can all watch the demise live!

  • LetsGetReal

    Why should I? If T-Mobile doesn’t want to do business here in the US then who am I to try and force them?

    If you don’t like AT&T go to Verizon, Page Plus, Metro PCS, Sprint Nextel, Boost, Virgin, Trac-Fone, NET 10, Family Mobile, Simple Mobile….. and countless others.

    • lets get real, not all cities have that many choices. maybe you do, but i certainly don’t. i can get simply mobile, which will become simply nothing as soon as the merger goes through as they piggyback off tmo.

  • TMoFan

    We can thank DT for screwing us over. I read on Bloomberg that DT determined about a year ago that keeping T-Mobile as it is won’t generate the most profit for shareholders. So DT changing its mind won’t happen. They want out and att made a deal they couldn’t refuse.

    However I hope this does gets stopped because DT most likely will either sell out to Sprint or form some sort of partnership. A combined Sprint/T-Mobile would be so much better from a consumer point-of-view than this. We need more competition against greedy giants like att not less.

    • MT3GS

      At this point, Sprint needs someone to get them out of the WiMax mess that they got themselves into jumping the gun with a crappy 4G standard ahead of everybody else. Dan Hesse has it right, but the guy is so sold on WiMax he deserves to be slapped! Sprint+T-Mo should be awesome (If they merge their CDMA and GSM networks with LTE). If they went LTE, it could be a viable option to VZW

      • MarkStolzoff

        Dude Verizon has one 4g Phone, ONE, and it was late as shit. I’ve been using Wimax for over a year, and it rocks.

    • Mario

      If Tmo would go to sprint they would switch us to CDMA that still only leaves us with one gsm network so idk why people are trying to stop the merger

      • Speculator

        Why? No reason they couldn’t go to GSM.

  • toss

    there’re big concerns right now with tue government and such things are just childish t the moment.. Untill the system is starightened up.
    Dont get me wrong but im all for the merge to be stopped. But for now lets focus on the government shutdown for a second.

  • Hey Mark, do yourself a favor and leave the insulting religious statements that have absolutely no merit to any part of this conversation out of it. That was a totally insensitive comment.

    • haha mark *standing behind David*

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    This deal needs to go thru. DT doesn’t want to be bothered with TMO USA. Why prevent them from selling? So they can hobble along as a “lame duck” carrier waiting for the next potential buyer to come along? Please….I love TMO as a customer, but DT doesnt care. There’s such an emphasis on Mobile Broadband now, but you don’t see TMO advertising it. Its like they’re not even trying to grow anymore. They think they can gain customers and not spend any money…..So frustrating……To say that TMO USA has been mis-managed would be an understatement. DT is Al Davis and TMO USA are the Oakland Raiders….so much more potential there, but the leadership sucks

  • TM97

    The merger is a done deal. The only questions are

    1. How many divestures

    2. How much spectrum will AT&T-Mobile have to release for bid or just give to smaller carriers


    3. What kind of roaming agreements will they have to give and/or sell to smaller carriers, and for how long.

    Anyone who thinks that even with the cancellation package that T-Mobile would stand a chance to go it alone again is living within the clouds.

    Speculation is one thing, knowingly living in the land of delusional clouds thinking that this deal will be cancelled is a whole other can of worms.

    T-Mobile USA sealed its fate with bad business decisions made back as early as 2006, in its preparations for 3G deployment. They felt at the time that data 3G wouldn’t be released until 2010 at the earliest, and that the initial launch would be for voice only. The other three major carriers had been giving voice away since 2005, only looking at data rates.

    T-Mobile was doomed by AT&T reject management, and vision that only went one to two years out.

    • Anonymous

      And their word of mouth marketing approach didn’t help

  • Derrick227

    i don’t give a fluke about this any more……….my contract ends sept 2011, i am just gonna see what the end is gonna be……….

  • I’s going to be MONOPOL company. Only ONE to DICTAT the price of the MINUTE talk / Internet / Messaging. DK

  • Zorro

    I dont really care about the buyout, I usually buy my phones off contract so I wouldnt be signing a new contract, so my price and unlimited data will be grandfathered in( I hope anyway). I will only care if they do away with WIFI calling(which will still be free after the buyout from being grandfathered in) and ATT phones blocking apps being side loaded, just root.

  • Anonymous

    This interview with the Chief Operating Officer of MetroPCS (the fifth largest carrier in the U.S.) is most telling on aspects of the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile. Also, if you are considering switching to Metro, this Q & A provides significant insights on where MetroPCS is going and has interesting commentary on the wireless industry in general, .

    IMHO FierceWireless asked great questions and MetroPCS did not hold back on its responses.

    The wireless industry has been closely watching no-contract carrier MetroPCS’ (NASDAQ:PCS) LTE deployment, its launch of the first Android-based LTE smartphone and its innovative Metro Studio content package. At the CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando, Fla., FierceWireless Editor in Chief Sue Marek sat down with Tom Keys, COO of MetroPCS, to talk about what AT&T’s (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile might mean for the company, what its plans are for more LTE smartphones and how MetroPCS is progressing with its VoLTE trials.

    FierceWireless: Do you think AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile will get approved by regulators?

    Keys: My impression is that they seem very confident that the deal will go through. Our view is that this deal takes away another competitor in the marketplace.

    FierceWireless: Does that mean this acquisition will be good for MetroPCS?

    Keys: It could have positive results. It depends on what happens in the next 12 months. We will see what both companies do. At Metro, our goal is to keep our head down and keep executing. We will keep building out our markets and building our brand. It only intensifies our efforts.

    FierceWireless: Do you think there might be an opportunity for MetroPCS, if the device road map for T-Mobile customers is unclear or they otherwise become unhappy, that they might be willing to leave?

    Keys: [We] might be an opportunity for T-Mobile customers when their contract is up and are trying to figure out what they want to do.

    Our belief is that it is not postpaid vs. prepaid, it is contract vs. no contract. If MetroPCS can give potential customers a postpaid experience without a contract, we enhance our chances to attract new [market] share.

    Additionally, if you look at the OEM environment [handset makers], the manufacturers have one less customer, so I suspect we will get an increased set of focused eyes on what our business can give to them [original equipment manufacturers].

    FierceWireless: If there are concessions in the acquisition, might there may be an opportunity for spectrum to be purchased?

    Keys: That’s speculation right now. But if there is an opportunity for spectrum that has to be divested to get this deal done, we will certainly take a look at it.

    FierceWireless: MetroPCS has said that it might consider a wholesale relationship with LightSquared if LightSquared can get its LTE network built. Leap Wireless just revealed that it has signed a long-term roaming deal with LightSquared. Does this recent development change or alter MetroPCS’ plans?

    Keys: Anything that happens with Leap does not dictate our direction. We will continue to be opportunistic when it comes to spectrum and see what is out there and we will act accordingly. The fact that Leap has a deal with LightSquared does not create more motivation for us to act.

    FierceWireless: One possible outcome of T-Mobile being acquired by AT&T is that you are losing another powerful player in the initiative to get the FCC to require data roaming. Is that a concern?

    Keys: We will continue to lobby [Washington] to get equitable data roaming rates. We think that is important in the industry. If spectrum is going to be a scarce resource then we are going to fight to get equitable data roaming rates across the country for all operators.

    FierceWireless: You recently launched one Android LTE smartphone. What is MetroPCS’ plan in terms of offering other operating systems on LTE smartphones?

    Keys: We can’t deny the popularity of the open operating system such as Android. We believe it is what consumers want. But we want to work toward a $200 LTE Android phone. We are working with every OEM on that.

    We want to bring LTE to the masses. And we want other LTE operators to be successful. If we can get more LTE devices in the ecosystem, we can get more OEMs to build LTE devices and we can see the cost curve come down.

    We go to Asia a couple of times a year and we talk with all the OEMs. We will launch more LTE devices this year by other OEMs.

    FierceWireless: Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is very important for MetroPCS. Is the ecosystem for VoLTE developing as you had hoped?

    Keys: We will be trialing it this year. The important thing for us is to get voice to ride over LTE and then for MetroPCS we want to refarm that spectrum dedicated to CDMA and then bring in LTE carriers in the base station to give us greater capacity on the LTE carriers vs. CDMA carriers.

    That’s a bigger issue for us than the spectrum issue. As we get to VoLTE and can move voice to LTE then we can have great capacity. This is all in the plan.

    FierceWireless: You are trialing this year. Will you launch in 2012?

    Keys: Yes, launch in 2012. We are trialing and testing VoLTE this year.

    FierceWireless: What is the big issue for you in the year ahead?

    Keys: It’s execution. We out execute everyone in our business model. We are a low-cost provider. We have the lowest CPU [cost per user] of any carrier. We have the lowest CPGA [cost per gross addition] of any operator and we spend the least amount of marketing dollars to get customers. That’s why we have the EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] margins that we have.

    Our goal doesn’t change. We just have to continue to execute the business model, providing wireless for all. We will take that to providing Android for all and then finally providing LTE for all.

    FierceWireless: A lot of analysts–both industry analysts and financial analysts–have been saying that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile is just the tip of the iceberg, and we will soon see other consolidation among operators. And they always point to MetroPCS as a possible merger candidate with Leap Wireless. Do you think that will happen?

    Keys: That’s speculation from other folks. Historically we did make a run at Leap, but it didn’t work. So we went about our business. But the foundation of our company and the philosophy of [Chairman and CEO] Roger Linquist is that we are not afraid to jump into the water when we place our bet. We did that with LTE and we think it will benefit us.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, another long “comment.” If it bothers you, don’t read em. ;)

    Anyway, if you want to understand who has a stake or concern in this deal, what are the perils and to whom, and what’s going on in the “war rooms,” here’s a great FierceWireless piece.

    Of course, industry insiders know about all this stuff, but I find quite interesting the play by play and revelations on what’s going on behind closed doors.

    Add to this that AT&T/T-Mobile have numerous government agencies, Congress and law enforcement with their magnifying glasses looking over the details of this deal and its affect on consumers and the industry. Seems to me AT&T needs a thirty-story building fully staffed with personnel whose only function is to do battle on multi-fronts against the opponents to this deal.

    Woe to the rivals of AT&T and T-Mobile : Executives from all of the nation’s major wireless carriers likely are holed up in their respective war rooms, debating strategy and discussing their next moves.

    And it’s a good bet the C-level meeting rooms at Sprint Nextel are overflowing, as CEO Dan Hesse and his team struggle to squeak out a win from what many are calling a disaster. (Sprint’s stock was down more than 12 percent in early trading after the acquisition announcement.) Sprint had been rumored just days before to be in discussions for a merger with T-Mobile, but it seems the deal didn’t sit well with Sprint executives–or AT&T pulled the rug out.
    “We believe that Sprint in particular is at risk as they have lost a potential merger partner and gained an even more formidable competitor,” wrote Jamie Townsend of TownHall Investment Research of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. “Being third in a two horse race is troublesome.”
    Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research, largely agreed with Townsend’s downbeat assessment of Sprint’s prospects noting that AT&T’s LTE push–bolstered by T-Mobile’s spectrum–could widen the gap between the nation’s two largest wireless carriers and Sprint.
    William Ho of Current Analysis pointed out that Sprint is now the odd man out in terms of LTE–Verizon Wireless and AT&T (and now T-Mobile) will deploy the network technology on 700 MHz and AWS spectrum, while Sprint doesn’t own any 700 MHz or AWS spectrum. However, Ho said, Sprint could potentially purchase AWS spectrum from the SpectrumCo cable company joint venture that won around $2.4 billion worth of AWS during the FCC’s 2006 auction.
    Others though see opportunity for Sprint. If the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile is approved, “it will allow Sprint to more clearly define itself as the value leader in the U.S. market and create more space for it in that segment,” explained Roger Entner, an analyst with Recon Analytics.
    Separately, industry analyst Mark Lowenstein noted Sprint could pick up additional wireless markets if AT&T is forced to divest T-Mobile assets as part of the deal.
    In a statement, Sprint telegraphed its plans to fight the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile with fervor: “If approved, the merger would result in a wireless industry dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically-integrated companies that control almost 80 percent of the U.S. wireless postpaid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete. The DOJ and the FCC must decide if this transaction is in the best interest of consumers and the US economy overall, and determine if innovation and robust competition would be impacted adversely and by this dramatic change in the structure of the industry.”
    Interestingly, the merger of the nation’s two main GSM carriers has sparked prognostication that Verizon Wireless should purchase Sprint in order to compete. Noted Lowenstein: “I think this (a Verizon-Sprint merger) is unlikely. AT&T needs T-Mobile a lot more than Verizon needs Sprint. Verizon has an excellent spectrum position in most major markets. Sprint and all its financial entanglements and mishpocheh would be complex and redundant for Verizon and its 45 percent owner, Vodafone, to digest. More likely for Verizon: a series of smaller, more surgical moves. And, at some point, taking the remaining 55 percent of the company back from Vodafone.”
    Lowenstein also floated the possibility of Sprint being acquired by a major cable operator; Sprint has a long history–primarily centered on its now-defunct Pivot effort–of working with the likes of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
    Nonetheless, If Sprint wishes to continue to compete on a national scale, the company may well be forced to conduct its own blockbuster merger, possibly with fellow CDMA operators like Leap Wireless or MetroPCS.
    The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile is a trickier issue for Clearwire and LightSquared.
    For Clearwire, an AT&T-T-Mobile tie-up likely erases all possibility of T-Mobile becoming a wholesale customer–or even of purchasing excess Clearwire spectrum. Clearwire is facing a dire cash crunch, and potential investors could be scared off by the massive weight AT&T could wield with T-Mobile.
    “The Clearwire predicament has gotten worse, in our view,” wrote Townsend of TownHall Investment Research. “We continue to believe that Sprint is moving away from a longer term commitment to Clearwire and its WiMAX network. We also believe that the value of Clearwire’s spectrum portfolio has decreased due to this deal and the likelihood of a meaningful spectrum sale by the company (much less equity deal) has become even less.”
    As for LightSquared, an AT&T purchase of T-Mobile could push the venture into the arms of Sprint. Sprint has been rumored to be in negotiations with LightSquared–despite (or because of) Sprint’s current relationship with Clearwire–and a stronger AT&T might ignite a fuse that would push Sprint toward LightSquared’s LTE plans. PRTM analyst Daniel Hays said that the deal will intensify pressure on all other operators and that “Sprint will also probably bolster its 4G position by teaming with LightSquared and aligning with the growing adoption of 4G LTE.”
    And what of the nation’s smaller wireless carriers, including Leap Wireless, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular and Cellular South?
    In its FAQ on the deal, AT&T answers a resolute “no” to the question: “Are there any competitive concerns? The U.S. wireless industry is and will remain fiercely competitive following this transaction,”
    AT&T declared. “Local market competition is escalating among larger carriers, low-cost carriers and several regional wireless players with nationwide service plans.”
    AT&T rivals likely would strongly disagree with the carrier’s assessment. Indeed, the national GSM roaming business alone could undergo profound changes if AT&T acquires the country’s only other GSM carrier. Further, MVNOs like TracFone would see their nationwide GSM options reduced from two to one, and the rates they pay could reflect that change.
    Of course, smaller, prepaid carriers also could be relieved to see T-Mobile bowing out–T-Mobile occasionally [challenged] low-cost prepaid and postpaid operators in some markets.
    Finally, executives at Verizon Wireless likely are settling into their war room for the long haul. Most notably Verizon Wireless will lose its claim on the top slot if AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile is approved: A combined AT&T and T-Mobile would count almost 27 million more subscribers than Verizon. Further, AT&T’s planned LTE network eventually could stretch farther than Verizon’s planned buildout–though Verizon clearly is in the lead right now.
    When questioned for a response to AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile, a Verizon spokesman replied with a jolly “No, thanks!”

  • Naterapan

    I understand that this is a big issue and there is a huge concern. But could someone explain to me how this was different with the ATT/Cingular bs that happened? I mean I guess the reason I’m asking is because that didn’t change peoples decisions on leaving when that happened. Not trying to prove anything I’m just curious.

    • Blahbot90

      Its different in terms that GSM bands will be completely owned by At&t whereas before they were shared between T-Mo and At&t so it was more in terms “ok” than now

    • Bob

      AT&T cost ALOT more than T-mobile. It is that simple to me. And they heavily throttle their data plans.

  • Johnnymcluvin

    I say once the company is bought all t-mobile customers drop out even if it costs money. Then switch to metropcs , that will teach AT&T Not to Monopolize. I have AT&T only because I’m grandfathered in with the unlimited data plan. Otherwise I would have metro. They have a for the people motto , not a for the money motto like AT&T .

    • Brian

      AT&T wants you to drop. They want the spectrum for their present customers and want the Tmobile 3G spectrum for their LTE network.

      MetroPCS has limited national coverage. Boost has better.

      I hope the deal doesn’t happen though. It is NOT good for the consumer.

  • Anonymous


  • Lnxarep3223

    i’m a longtime tmobile employee and if what goes on at our center is any indication the merger is all but approved…we’ve already been sent an internal email regarding severence pay and retention bonuses and told a letter was sent out and should be arriving soon….longtime coaches and reps are disappearing at a rapid pace and our metrics have been changed and employee reviews are to be done every two weeks and if you’re not meeting the new metrics you’re out the door….really seems like tmo is cleaning house and everyone is on pins and needles just hoping to make it to the merger-i’m hoping it’s done sooner than later