So, When AT&T Said It Needed T-Mobile For LTE, It Wasn’t Being Completely Honest

If I can take you back to last year, and the AT&T, T-Mobile acquisition mind frame you might recall that a large part of AT&T’s desire to grab T-Mobile was for spectrum. Spectrum, as you’ll recall was what AT&T said was necessary for them to be able to rival other carriers (see: Verizon) with nationwide LTE.

Well, as of this Wednesday AT&T has been singing a different tune, stating that their LTE coverage would go nationwide by 2014, thanks to purchases this year in the 2.3GHz WCS band. It’s clear that AT&T overplayed their concerns that the only way they could achieve nationwide LTE was through controlling T-Mobile.

In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee back in May of 2011, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson testified that his company did not own enough spectrum, specifically in more rural areas. Asked directly by Senator Michael Lee (R-UT): “If you were unable to acquire T-Mobile what would your options be as far as developing your 4G LTE network?”

Stephenson replied:

“It’s a long-term solution. Most of the rural communities that we’re speaking to, we would not have the spectrum depth to do the conversion that we need. So, this is one of the big determinants as to whether if we can get to a lot of the rural communities with our LTE build. We need spectrum in those communities. In this classic case, [T-Mobile has] a very nice footprint in West Virginia. We don’t have enough spectrum to launch in in West Virginia.”

Thankfully, as we all know the FCC wasn’t having any of it and denied AT&T’s request to buy T-Mobile. One of the specific reasons the FCC denied AT&T was due in part to the disbelief that AT&T wouldn’t build out LTE without acquiring T-Mobile.

“The staff additionally identifies internal AT&T documents and consistent historical practices that contradict AT&T’s claim that merging with T-Mobile is essential for AT&T to build out its LTE network to 97 percent of all Americans,” said the FCC.

While AT&T certainly didn’t achieve the total rollout they said they couldn’t do with T-Mobile without making a few other minor acquisitions, they definitely didn’t tell the truth about life without T-Mobile.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about it anymore. Score one for the justice and truth.


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  • guy on the street

    The unfortunate reality is that this AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will never spend a day in criminal court for perjury to congress. Congress and its lawyers will have other fish to fry, and will never revisit issues like this in order to deter future perjury by other witnesses. In order to be taken to court over perjury to congress, you have to have an ever HIGHER profile, like a professional baseball player who takes performance enhancing drugs. Multibillion dollar corporation CEO? Naaaaah, that’s small potatoes.

    • M42

      We’re living in an age that’s a return to the Robber Baron era. Big companies lie, cheat and steal to become bigger and more profitable all the while stomping out their competition. It’s no surprise to me their CEO wasn’t held in contempt. Not a single Wall Street CEO who participated in the crash of 2008 has been indicted. Yet, just twenty years earlier over 800 executives who had a hand in the S&L debacle were prosecuted. My, how times have changed.

      • Ulysses Geist

        No, we are not living in a “Robber Baron” age. The robber barons engaged in cutthroat competition and tried to form monopolies. Robber barons did not engage in the current collusion between government and business. This is the crony-capitalism or regulatory fascism age where business use government to stifle competition or regulate their business enemies and rivals out of existence. ATT just didn’t grease the right palms.

  • atari37

    Of course it didn’t need T-Mobile. This was about killing the competition.

  • Michael Lococo

    “It wasn’t personal Sonny…” :-)

  • Ex Employee

    This isn’t something to be thankful for. Due to T-Mobile positioning themselves to be acquired by AT&T and that deal falling through it cost thousands of people their jobs.


      And we miss you sir. Hopefully, John Legere will live up to his talk and get back to customer service again

    • And Negative PR T-mobile is still hurting from that potential buyout while T-mo got 3billion from it falling out t-mobile customers jumped ship because they didn’t want any part of at&t

    • Hesster

      The proposed buyout would have cost even more people their jobs if it had gone through. AT&T only wanted T-Mobile’s customers and network. Most of their employees would have been superfluous.

  • Stop sad

  • What? you mean… AT&T LIED! this is soooooooooooooo unheard of , Im so surprised my goshh /s

    • Farhan

      Don’t forget Philipp Humm sat right next to him agreeing with everything.

  • archerian

    I am totally shocked Randall Stephenson was lying. Never expected it from him or ATT, this is a first.

  • Josue

    the day AT&T tells the truth pigs will fly

  • FBPhilly

    There is a big game that AT&T will play very strongly
    with T-Mobile USA and I believe that this is a hidden agreement between both companies.
    AT&T is the only carrier that allows iPhone 5 unlocking. Is that a part of
    brake up fee? Is this gift that AT&T is doing for T-Mobile…??? No way… What
    I am trying to say is that all of their money that they spend as a brake up fee
    is not going to nowhere. This is an investment guys for the future. You will
    find out as t-mobile will go public, AT&T will buy all of their shares. DT
    in the other side want to get rid of T-Mobile USA as soon as possible. This is
    my opinion and I believe that is going to happen.

    • Trevnerdio

      Verizon also offers the 5 unlocked.

      And DT is already going to hand over the reigns to MetroPCS

    • Whitney

      Not true Verizon has the unlock version as well

  • Hesster

    AT&T not being honest? Is this a surprise to anyone?

  • 0neTw0

    You mean a Company would make up a story just to try to get what they want? Shocking! I am truly Shocked. 0_o

  • chris125

    So a top exec not being honest…. you don’t say. Typical att

  • GinaDee

    Another case of the pot calling the kettle black. Where exactly is T-Mobile’s LTE network?

    In case you forgot it was DT/T-Mobile who agreed to be bought.

    Hypocrites fly amongst us.

  • hexpoll

    This isn’t as cut and dry as it looks.

    High frequencies are bad for cellular networks because they reflect off walls or get absorbed by them MUCH more than lower frequencies. 2.3 GHz is very high for a cellular network connection, and it will have major problems inside buildings. This is probably is a last resort for AT&T.

    • bleeew

      Thats why they also got the 800mhz. And higher the frequency means more customers it can hold. Ex. So instead of ATT having one 800Mhz tower for one community at 15mbps a tower(the customer will get 5 mbps), ATT can have 2 2.3Mhz towers for one community at 15mbps a tower(the customer will get 7mbps instead of 5).

  • Bokebo

    I am SO glad that AT&T didn’t get to buy out T-Mobile. Since I started working as a third-party retailer, AT&T is by FAR the company I hate dealing with the most.

  • mbcls

    this is so stupid!
    what would you expect att to say when tmobile didnt go through?
    this is like a guy saying “you my soulmate, i cant live without you”.
    but when she rejected him,
    he would tell his friends that she is ugly and he really dont like her.

  • mbcls

    this is so stupid! what do you expect ATT to say? “due to tmobile merger
    failed, our LTE coverage is not as big as Verizon, please switch to

  • Anyone who would believe the Corporate talking/BS should have their brain removed, when was the last time you hear honest stuff from a CEO in the USA?

  • spepper

    Just like political/govt regimes, corp.s like AT&T may say one thing, but actually are doing (or pursuing) something else entirely different (or the OPPOSITE). That’s historically known as a SMOKESCREEN.

  • Jam

    I think it would have been good for t-mobile customers like me, since it seems like they don’t care about their customers anymore. I recently moved and got no service in an area that is supposed to have 4g. Customer service since last year is horrible, not to mention that we are stuck with 90’s tech. Hopefully they will speed up their ref arm, and LTE deployment, if not, it wont be just me jumping ship but a lot of people that is fed up with trash tech.

  • JeffWalenta

    Wait they deploying LTE on 700,AWS and now 2300 wtf we are never going to have global phones again what a clusterfuck ….I’m trying to remember if I got this right …in the US alone the various networks for LTE are 700,800,1700,2300,2500 I think I might of missed one because I can’t remember if sprint is going to use PCS for LTE