AT&T CEO Admits Poor Execution Doomed T-Mobile Deal


In a move that will surprise no one, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has finally admitted that poor execution doomed his attempt to take over T-Mobile. During an interview with Phil Weiser, dean of the University of Colorado Law School, Stephenson admitted that the failed deal was one of his worst moments as CEO.

“I wouldn’t say it was a bad decision, but it was a decision that didn’t go the way I wanted,” Stephenson said. “We didn’t execute well.”

With regulatory opposition mounting, AT&T dropped their attempts to take over T-Mobile on December 19th of 2011. Anyone shocked or surprised that it took this long for Stephenson to finally admit that his company failed to properly execute the deal? It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything about the AT&T/T-Mobile bromance and with MetroPCS on the horizon, I’ll take a moment to wonder what the wireless landscape would be like today had AT&T succeeded in their takeover?

Fierce Wireless

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  • sidekicker89

    Has T-Mobile started the 3G roaming agreement yet with AT&T?? I wonder where Tmotech has been :) I like hearing network news.

    • gsm1900

      The breakup had a offer of a roaming agreement. It was not a “here is free roaming” it was “we will sign roaming at our standard roaming rates”. TMO elected to pass on the agreement, as signing a roaming agreement where you already had coverage was silly.

      • ultravision

        They stated the 3G roaming agreement already. I was on i5 in oregon between eugene and medford and I was picking up AT&T 3G roaming on my phone

    • Yes I was working on an account today for a customer that was roaming, inquiring why he blew through 50 mb on the first two days of his bill cycle. the 10gb with 200 mb was not a bleak outcome to resolve the situation. I was surprised when he told me that his android was connect to ATT but was showing 3g. Its only going to cause problems!

  • g2a5b0e

    They didn’t execute well? That’s the reason he gives?! Seriously?! This guy is a str8 up ass clown. No amount of proper execution would have made that deal
    happen. The FCC saw right through the farce of a reason they gave for
    wanting to acquire T-Mobile. They wanted to spend $39 billion to acquire
    T-Mobile when the upgrades they say they needed T-Mobile to make would
    have cost them less than a third of that. Eliminate the competition
    & keep rolling. That’s what they tried to do. The world of mobile technology in the US is already close enough to a duopoly with Verizon & AT&T sharing 70% of the market. Had that
    deal went through, that number would have skyrocketed to over 80%. F*ck
    that. I like choice & competition. AT&T losing that battle was definitely a win
    for the good guys. What he really means is that they didn’t bribe enough people, or the right people. What a jerk. F*ck him.

    • g2a5b0e

      As much as I dislike to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it anyway…the guy looks like the epitome of a corporate d-bag, too.

  • the emperor

    Omg this ceo guy needs to gtfo. That face is what every evil ceo probably looks like.

    Some pencil neck that throws his arrogance around.

    Im so glad he didn’t destroy tmobile.

  • 21stNow

    For once, I’m grateful for a poor execution.

    • Nearmsp

      They executed well on the politician end. 100 faceless congressmen on both sides of the aisle signed a letter to AT&T saying they supported the deal. Only Al Franken, MN Senator was the lone politician saying this is not good for consumers. The execution failed on assuring T-mobile customers who were alarmed that their cost would go up substantially. I personally wrote over 100 blogs on my name and anonymously in Wall Street Journal and many other publications. I kept shaming FCC and FTC as the foxes guarding the hen house on behalf of the duopoly. In the end, FCC just could not continue to rubber stamp take over deals with both AT&T and Verizon ending up with over 80% market share and killing what little competition there is. The outcome was great for T-mobile customers. T-mobile tried to morph in to AT&T and JD Power Associates survey still shows it tied at the hips with AT&T at the bottom on customer service. It will take a long time, for T-mobile to earn the trust of its customers by providing ethical and open communication with its customers.

      • mingkee

        Such corruption makes a laughstock from Dark Country (Chi-Na).

  • CJ

    I think it would have been better, T-Mobile is going down the toilet! The IPhone can not come fast enough to save their butts! I bet they will mess that one up to.

    • Dan

      TMobile is doing just fine. BB10 is coming and the Iphone will be a relic in a year. the OS is 5 yrs old and very little has changed. Besides Tmobile is a great value and they have plenty of Andriod phones to make people happy.

      • Eric

        More people are happy with iPhone than Android devices. If T-Mobile didn’t get the iPhone, say good bye to your T-Mobile company. It has been PROVEN that the iPhone brings in more profit and customers into your company in the long term.

        • jej

          There was just a study showing user satisfaction is higher in the us for 4 android phones than the iPhone 5. Apple has squandered their lead and still refuses to compete on price.

        • mingkee

          iPhone is coming to T-Mobile and it will be sold under Value Plan (with financing) and Monthly Plan (without financing).
          Android has been growing pretty rapidly and thanks Samsung has been pretty aggressive on that.

    • Spanky

      Again…the iPhone is not the be-all-end-all for the mobile industry, and it’s most certainly not the magic bullet. Will it help T-Mobile? Of course it will. Will it save them? Unlikely.

    • g2a5b0e

      You messed it up, *too.

    • Baxter DeBerry

      T-Mobile will do fine even without it, their reshaping the company, dropping contracts, reframing, and also pushing out LTE, while also buying metro.. their goanna become a huge competitor, we have metro in town (my town is roughly about 20,000) with T-Mobile and metro combined they might have more spectrum in this area then AT&T does.. that being said I can not wait!

  • Oliver Jackson

    Thank goodness it didn’t happen.

  • Now if T-Mobile can fix the horrible customer service issues when we have to contact them considering serious issues they might have a chance.

    • mingkee

      It shall be long ass nights for Legere.

  • Verizonthunder

    At&t you were never consumer friendly and messed up account’s that is why I left you in the dust

  • Mirad77

    There is what we want and then there is what life has to offer. Welcome to the real world a$$ clown.

  • GinaDee

    T-Mobile was just as idiotic as AT&T here guys. Not sure why they get a pass when they are the ones who whored themselves out in the first place.

    Both companies have terrible reputations in network deployments and poor to non-existant rural coverage. T-Mobile only recycles the same areas for PCS HSPA+/AWS HSPA+ and LTE. Everyone else outside the skeleton coverage zones are stuck with GPRS or nothing.

    • philyew

      Where would TM be without the AWS spectrum, data roaming deal and $3 billion payout that resulted from the deal failing?

      You think Deutsche Telekom would have set aside $4 billion for the network modernization program when they didn’t have sufficient spectrum to make the changes in some of their key markets?

      Lack of penetration in the rural markets is a simple fact of life. There isn’t enough growth potential in those markets for every carrier to provide equal levels of service. If you didn’t get there first, there is virtually no way to make a rural service pay.

      Yes, DT wanted out of their US holding – they still do – but from a customer point-of-view, at least the breakup compensation has given TM a way forward which simply didn’t exist two years ago.

  • MattB

    The only thing I’m “shocked or surprised” about is that the headline doesn’t read: “Ex-CEO Admits Poor….”

    • MCGTech

      Funny you should say that. I had already done a double-take looking for the “Ex” moniker.

  • MCGTech

    The proposed takeover freaked out many TmoUSA users. Many jumped the gun and paid to leave before their contracts were up just to keep away from AT&T

    • Nick Gonzalez

      I rode it out in hopes the deal wouldn’t go through. If it did go through though, I was gonna be gone with the wind.

  • Stars44

    why is everyone so happy it didnt happen? I’m with Tmobile for 9 years and planning to switch to someone else once my contract expires. Their coverage and call quality, internet just suck! Sometimes I get 4 bars, 4g and cant load anything. Dropped calls is normal. My friends have either ATT or Verizon and they don’t have such problems and more than that, have coverage where Tmo has none.
    Some people ATTs customer care sucks, but are you calling them every day? I called Tmo 611 maybe 5 times in 9 years. You just connect and pay every month right?

    • 21stNow

      I’ll speak for myself. I like competition. If T-Mobile doesn’t fit your needs but Verizon Wireless or AT&T does, by all means switch. I just think that consumers should have a choice. There are many people who are served well by T-Mobile, and I didn’t want to see that option go away.

      If you want to be an AT&T customer you can be an AT&T customer, with or without the buyout. The same cannot be said for people who want to be T-Mobile customers.

      • Stars44

        as a loyal tmo customer I hoped this deal would improve coverage and quality. But now I have switch…
        I was driving with my friend from LA to Vegas couple weeks ago. He had ATT and was streaming youtube all the way, I could barely use internet just to read websites. When I got back home I checked on Tmo map – it shows that highway is covered with 4g!
        ps I got SGS3, tried to reset the phone couple times, but still the signal was from bad to average. Speedtest wouldn’t even start!
        I was waiting for Tmo to improve for long time, seeing my friends having strong signal inside buildings where tmo failed. But now I gotta switch, but unfortunately gotta wait till Septemer.

        • superg05

          i say do what you got to do if there not meeting your needs verizion has the best bands

        • mingkee

          Just go to wherever it suits you.

    • superg05

      my friend only has 200mb of data cause its so expensive if you don’t like tmobile then why come here other than to troll switch companies and go to a death star site

      • Stars44

        I’m not trolling, I’m still tmo customer and will be for at least another 6 months. If they improve quality during that period I might change my mind, but right now i just don’t see the other way out. That’s just my opinion. If for someone tmo works great I’m really happy for them.

        Your friend has only 200mb cuz he can’t afford more? C’mon man, I got 2gb for $10 right now, is that expensive???

    • mingkee

      Just go to Qatar and live three months.

      • Stars44

        you think more carriers more competition? Compare att and verizon plans, they’re absolutely identical, for example, 2 lines with unlim. talk and text+4gb shared data is $165. Tmo is just 20-30 cheaper, but the quality is worse too…

  • galaxymaniac

    $4B in acquisition failure penalties, and he still remains CEO.. Normal people like us get fired for a loss of a millionth of that

    • mingkee

      …or get murdered.
      Something worse is, he will get massive pension from EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER’S POCKET!!!

  • Hesster

    I don’t think there was a way to do this deal no matter how well it was executed. AT&T should have known that before they ever tried it.

    Everyone was against it but the two companies involved. Consumer groups were against it. Other carriers were against it. Local governments were against it. The Department of Justice was against it. It was a bad deal all around and wasn’t going to happen, period.

    Now if it had been Sprint and T-Mobile merging, that might have had a different outcome.

  • macman37

    Tell Randall Stepenson to stop crying and give that loser his Oscar Meyer Weiner. He needs to suck it up and start cushioning his and AT&T’s fall when T-Mobile starts selling the iPhone in the next few months.

    • Fox

      Probably coming soon as T-Mo ended the employee phone benefit early starting at the end of this month.

  • Rudy Belova

    Wrong.. At&t being At&t doomed the deal.

  • MrAOK

    Hessler pretty much nailed it. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the execution. The problem here was that AT&T overreached. It believed it could muscle through a deal whose chances of approval from day one were pretty dubious. Even T-Mobile thought the chances were dubious. That’s why they asked for $1 billion if the deal didn’t go through..

  • JoeyKhache

    What’s with the abnormally large photo of this dude on the main posts page? haha

  • mingkee

    It’s indeed a good thing it failed and ATT should have known that.
    Nobody (I state 99% of population) wants there are only HUGE MA BELLS!

  • He should just go ahead and admit the whole reason for the deal in the first place was to eliminate competition.

  • Ok so it was a takeover and not a merger. For T-Mobile to come out with more than it left with, seems that they one upped at&t like they knew it would fail

    • thepanttherlady

      I have to agree with you on this.