397 Comments

Summary:

AT&T is buying T-Mobile USA for a whopping $39 billion in cash and stock. The questions are who wins and who loses in this deal. It is hard to find winners apart from AT&T and T-Mobile. Here a list of who loses this deal:

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The lull of my lazy, rainy weekend was broken by the news that AT&T plans to acquire T-Mobile USA for a whopping $39 billion in cash and stock. Who wins and who loses in this deal? It’s hard to find winners, apart from AT&T and T-Mobile shareholders. Here is a list of who loses, in my opinion, in this deal:

Consumers. The biggest losers of this deal are going to be the consumers. While AT&T and T-Mobile are going to try to spin it as a good deal to combine wireless spectrum assets, the fact is, T-Mobile USA is now out of the market.

T-Mobile USA has been fairly aggressive in offering cheaper voice and data plans as it has tried to compete with its larger brethren. The competition has kept the prices in the market low enough. This has worked well for U.S. consumers. With the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, the market is now reduced to three national players: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.  Net-net, U.S. consumers are going to lose.

Phone Handset Makers. Before the merger was announced, the handset makers such as HTC and Motorola had two major carriers who could buy their GSM-based phones. They just lost any ability to control price and profits on handsets because now there is a single buyer that can dictate what GSM phones come to market. Even with LTE becoming the standard for the 4G world, it would essentially be a market dominated by three buyers (should Sprint go with LTE), which would place handset makers at the mercy of the giants.

Sprint. The nation’s third-largest carrier was in talks to buy T-Mobile according to Bloomberg, but AT&T’s offer has now pushed Sprint to the bottom of the pile in terms of size and potentially spectrum assets if it goes through. If it doesn’t go through, then Sprint now has a price it has to match in order to get its hands on T-Mobile. Plus, Sprint and T-Mobile often stood against AT&T and Verizon on a variety of regulatory issues, so if AT&T succeeds, Sprint will stand alone on special access and other issues.

Network Equipment Suppliers. The carrier consolidation has proved to be a living hell for companies that make infrastructure network equipment. Alcatel-Lucent, along with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens, are suppliers of gears to both AT&T and T-Mobile USA. With a single customer, they will lost ability to control their own fate and are going to see their profits suffer as a result.

Google. I think the biggest loser in this could be Google. In T-Mobile, it has a great partner for its Android OS-based devices. Now the company will be beholden to two massive phone companies — Verizon and AT&T — who are going to try to hijack Android to serve their own ends.

Don’t be surprised if you see AT&T impose its own will on what apps and service are put on its Android smartphones. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the worst phone company in the U.S. (according to Consumer Reports) tries to create its own app store and force everyone to buy apps through it.

It doesn’t matter how you look at it; this is just bad for wireless innovation, which means bad news for consumers. T-Mobile has been pretty experimental and innovative: It has experimented with newer technologies such as UMA, built its own handsets and has generally been a more consumer-centric company. AT&T, on the other hand, has the innovation of a lead pencil and has the mentality more suited to a monopoly: a position it wants to regain.

  1. Unconcerned Andy Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Dude it’s gonna be ok. Go eat some fruit or something. This will give AT&T a very nice upgrade to their network and t-mobile users will finally get a decent phone. Yay :)

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    1. t mobil user Sunday, March 20, 2011

      Thi s article maybe biasd, but its right its bad for consumers. I’ve got a landline from att and they just jacked rates nearly 50%. They will do the same for cellphone plans. Have you heard why att’s network sucks…too many users. Att will charge more for less service with this.

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      1. They can’t jack up plan prices unless they’re willing to lose their customers to Verizon. So relax. Competition is still alive and well, it’s just that the pool is now smaller.

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      2. Of course it’s biased. It’s an opinion piece. That’s the point.

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      3. Arik, unfortunately there are many who cannot go to Verizon because they need phones that reliably function outside of the US on business and personal trips. Those of us who need GSM/UMTS phones either have to buy a second device for use abroad, or suck up whatever this new combined company gives us.

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      4. MCI (aka Verizon) had done the same to me, and that was reason enough to quit my landline. I am perfectly satisfied with my HTC phone on T-Mobile. AT&T screwed with my bills when it was Bell South, so I don’t do business with them, either. Om is correct; everyone loses … IF this merger is approved.

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      5. Dale, not sure if you were aware but Verizon does offer several models that also work on the GSM network… Mot. Droid 2, Droid Pro, BB Bold, Storm 1 and 2, and 2 basic flip phones… So really u get the best of both worlds with VZW.

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      6. Most land lines are still regulated by public utility commissions so the regulated landline will not increase in price without scrutiny of such commissions.

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      7. I believe you must of finished your introductory rate on emergency service only landline… AT&T has not raised the price of homephones in nearly 5 years, and the only price difference in landline is u-verse vs. non-u-verse… otherwise same price.

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      8. Christopher E Ashley Saturday, March 26, 2011

        you said to many users so to me that means lots of people like the service. I have att and at points is does have it problems but over all it is good. I think that with this merger would improve the current service for all ATT and T-mobie’s users.

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      9. I agree! Every time AT&T has acquired a phone company that I had service with the service went down hill, the cost went up and they find some way to completely screw up the account i.e. leave an account open after I closed it and tried to charge me for it. AT&T isn’t good for ANYBODY!!!

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      10. T-Mobile user Thursday, May 19, 2011

        My husband had an iPhone with AT&T and He owed $200 on his bill and couldn’t pay it.. So he shut it off hoping he wouldn’t get charged anymore
        He now has a $500 dollar bill and It’s been 3 months since the shut off… I go through T-Mobile and I have the MyTouch 4g (which I love btw) and my sister has a line on my bill too which is also and android phone,I have to pay $215 a month and I really hope my bill won’t get any higher and my plan won’t suck either and I can’t switch companies for almost 2 years…. I’m screwed… lol

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      11. Competition is always good for consumers ,it’s the same reason we get great prices on appliances and electronics , cars ect …so if you reduce the preseure on the phone co’s to compete prices will no doubt pay higher prices . and thousandes of people being out of work is never a good idea no matter how manny workers are there as far as verizion goes there prices are kinda high anyway so we then have less choices and thats never good.
        and you just know if t mobile had a better product att will just flush it away as in the casr of the aiwa sony merger for thoes of us who remember.

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    2. As an AT&T Mobility Employee I can tell you it will not be OK. The consumers are really going to get Fucked if this deal goes through

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      1. I second that. Switched to AT&T few years back from T-Mobile. After 1 month switched back. Outrageously expensive and crappy service.

        I need a phone that works outside of US. I will probably go without a phone in the US if this merger goes through. There will be no other phone in the US from which I can buy phone service.

        The problem is that many places ask for a phone number.

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      2. You have nerver lied it will be all bad as a collector for at&t you are fucked if this go though think what you want LOL but at&t will never any kind of business. Of mine I wouldn’t let my dog do business with if I had one LOL that is how fucked you are going to be…. I will be calling you to collect those debts l to funny

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    3. It’s not gonna be ok. IT’s going to give ATT a monopoly on GSM service in the US. It’s going to eliminate the only option for consumers to buy an unlocked, unsubsidized contract-free phone. It’s going to lower the overall level of customer service in the industry. As a T-mo user, I already have a great phone.

      I’m also not so sure about the upgrade to ATT’s network. T-Mo’s 3G service operates on different frequencies than ATT’s, and it will be difficult for ATT to market phones if they only run on one band or the other. Nobody really makes phones that run on both networks, so ATT will either abandon T-Mo’s 3G network, or completely confuse and frustrate customers (as if they don’t do that now) with a service plan that will not work with all devices.

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      1. They are not going to drop T-Mobile’s band. That’s half the reason they’re buying it, and it’s only data that won’t be able to use T-Mobile’s towers, Voice will get extended coverage.

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      2. Eh, isn’t the whole point of buying an unlocked, unsubsidized phone is that you can do it without giving a penny to the carrier? I bought my phone from Newegg and put my 5+ year old SIM card in it. AT&T couldn’t eliminate this option even if they wanted to, because that’s how GSM works.

        There are phone(s) that run on both AT&T and T-Mobile 3G (ahem, 4G) bands. There aren’t more because T-Mobile is too small. With new combined company size there will be 130 million more incentives for manufacturers to make 850/1700/1900/2100 phones.

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      3. Alfred Hussein Wednesday, March 23, 2011

        If you don’t like AT&T, don’t use them. There are other wireless carriers. If the other carriers don’t offer the phone(S) you like, purchase another phone. Some of you act like you are entitled to wireless service. It’s like anything else you purchase.

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      4. t-mobile usr Tuesday, June 14, 2011

        att’s plan is to take t-mobile and use their system to update their own and disban t-mobile and eliminate competition. they run on the same 700mhz wavelength but t-mobile was a threat to att and as such are eliminating the threat.

        when 700 mhz went on the market, att bought 90% and t-mobile bought 10%. att was still trying to update their system, t-mobile already had an updated system that could handle better service.

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    4. Tmobile users already have better phones than at&t. If anything changes its a get of contact free card four tmobile user.

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      1. am at-mobile customer and am already looking for new company because i had nothing but problems when I was with at&t

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    5. I already have a great phone. Its best feature: Wi-Fi hotspot on an unlimited bandwidth $50/mo T-Mobile plan. Good luck keeping that with AT&T in charge.

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      1. I have $30 unlimited data for at&t :) includes hotspot making too
        Beat that

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      2. @YOSH
        My unlimited data plan cost $20 a month and I have the MyTouch 4g and mobile hotspot and video chat and wifi calling….
        Do we really have to do the whole “Who has a bigger dick” competition?

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    6. I’m on tmobile BECAUSE of their phone selection. They’ve long had the best phones

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    7. anothertmobileuser Sunday, March 20, 2011

      Tmobile has a great phone in the Galaxy S Vibrant. And Tmobile has been the only domestic carrier to update the Galaxy S phone to Android to 2.2 aka the infamous Froyo. I hope they don’t lose their current edge.

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      1. Let’s not got overboard. The upgrade process to Froyo on the Vibrant is horrible – it needs to be done through the Samsung Kies program, which barely works. Oh and did I mention the upgrade can’t happen through a 64-bit PC?

        Better shovel out that Windows Vista desktop.

        T-Mobile isn’t perfect, guys. I’ve been with them for 8 years and they’ve slapped mysterious fees and dropped many-a-call during my time there. Sure, it’s cheap as hell, but it ain’t perfect. Half the time, I don’t complain about lousy network connection and 3G coverage because of how cheap it is.

        On top of that, outside the Galaxy series (which every carrier supports), T-Mobile barely has any big name phones. Maybe the Nexus S, but its Best Buy exclusivity really hinders that. As a phone though, it’s up there with the best.

        I think now that AT&T bought the little guy, we have our nostalgia glasses on. As far as bills go, this is probably very bad news, as my fees are most likely going to shoot up. No more unlimited data or tethering. But it’ll just be another speed bump in what’s been an already-rocky road.

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      2. I upgraded my Captivate to Froyo last week (on Win7 64-bit no less).

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      3. Sorry not true I just upgraded my Captivate from ATT to Froyo 2.2 on Sat Afternoon

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      4. Also gotta say not true. I updated to 2.2, installed a custom kernel, used ODIN to flash back to 2.1, updated back to 2.2 again, and installed another kernel. All from on my 64bit PC. CHEERS

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    8. If the T-Mobile/AT&T deal completes, I’m hoping it will give AT&T access to same (ahem) “technology” for low prices & great customer service! Wink wink.

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    9. Bravo, nice flame sir.

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    10. sorry bust your bubble but T-mobile has some decent phone oh you must be talk about that mess called the I phone lol

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      1. Yea I’ve been a tmobile customer for 7 years. Greatest customer service ever, and discounts on every bill I’ve had. N also much better phone selection. New my touch 4g blows the iPhone away in my opinion.

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    11. Andy is an idiot Tuesday, March 22, 2011

      1) T-Mobile has plenty of good/Great phones most of which are not tied to a computer for it to be useable

      2) AT&T is just buying back the antenae they lost in the merger with Cingular.

      3) Pick up lines should not be at the begiining of your post. :P

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    12. Seriously? You think it will all be fine and dandy? The last time I had AT&T they tried to f**k me up the a$$ with no Vaseline! First they overcharged me for their most useless phone that they no longer supported. Then they tried to charge me $160 a month for 400 minutes and 500 texts? The plan I signed up for said that was $45 a month, which is still ridiculously high. I canceled my contract after only 3 months of intermittent service (at best). The cancellation fee was my cheapest bill from them! As well as the one I was happiest to pay. AT&T is nothing more than a blood-sucking tick. It should be doused in alcohol and burned off the ass of the wireless community.

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    13. You better go study some antitrust history. VZ more than likely won’t lower prices. They have that ability now, yet they keep them up. Actual cost of a customer is about 30 percent of what they charge. THe only thing that could make this work is if the regulators break the handset/service requirement.

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    14. At&t will get decent phones t-mobile already got that if anything t-moile should stay independent or by out metro or sumthing

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    15. U are stupidity in action I have a more than god phone and its called the. Nexus S.

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    16. What’s phones does art have over tmobile? The icrap? That’s the only one I can think of. All the others have versions on tmobile with only cosmetic differences. And incase you havnt noticed who gets the exclusive google phones? That would be tmoble with the nexus one and nexus s
      Alsowho got the first galaxy s phone? Oh that’s right tmobile.

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    17. Concerned Tmobile Customer Friday, May 20, 2011

      Evidently you have been eating the wrong kind of fruit hon! AT&T sucks! That is why I left them in the First place to go to Tmobile!!!

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    18. no way,,,,,att sucks and always will,,,I am an expert on att after having been one of their customers since 1981. Now all I have is a dry loop internet dsl and they cant even get my bill right. I have been with 2 companies that att bought and the service got worse and 1 company that bought att (cingular),,,then service got really BAD. I think all of cingular’s crappy employees stayed and made policies to be the worst company on the planet,,,,(they win—-go Charlie Sheen)

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  2. This person sounds like they are very biased against AT&T. Boo for bad journalism.

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    1. If I combined the words, “fling” and “dung”,….

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    2. So where’s the bias? If the truth is bad for ATT, is it bias to report it?

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    3. Believe what you are reading. A monopoly would only serve to increase customer dissatisfaction with a company that already thinks it is the gift to everyone.

      And, btw, who do you think wrote this article?

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    4. Hey, looks like we have some AT&T astroturfers here!
      Go away spam boy.

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    5. Phung, you do realize that this is an opinion piece, right?

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    6. Bad journalism? IT’S TRUE, and even still, it’s an opinion piece as previously stated. And as for being against ATT WHY NOT? They’re more expensive, offer less services and features, and for god sake they just SUCK. ConsumerReports.org ranked ATT horribly according to a satisfaction survey of 58,000 ATT users. ATT was the lowest-scoring carrier in the US. ATT was the only carrier to drop significantly in overall satisfaction! I’ve been in the technology industry for many years and the cell phone industry specifically for most of them; This merge SCARES ME!

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      1. Most of us stopped believing Consumer Reports years ago because they only take input from their subscribers which is not a statistically valid sample of the US population.
        The bad reputation some people still associate with AT&T dates back three years to a decade or more. During the last two years, AT&T expanded its number of towers, went 3G and was the first to allow a smart phone manufacturer to largely control how its devices operate on a network. The consensus is that AT&T has the fastest network. And, of course, it has simultaneous data and voice for smart phones. T-Mobile customers who remain at AT&T long enough to test it will likely stay.
        By the way, AT&T’s customer turn over rate is the same as Verizon’s: about 1.3%

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  3. Where did you get this info. Btw tmobile doesn’t make it’s own devices, those are made by HTC

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    1. And Motorola.

      And Nokia.

      And Samsung.

      NOT just HTC.

      It’s obvious you are not a T-Mobile customer.

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      1. Actually they know what they’re talking about. They’re referring to phones like the “T-Mobile myTouch” or the “T-Mobile Dash”, etc which are marketed under T-Mobile’s name but actually made by HTC.

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      2. Did HTC make the T-Mobile sidekick? Not to mention all of the uma and hspa 1700 phones made specifically for T-Mobile.

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  4. T-Mobile was also the only U.S. carrier that happily gave you unlock codes for its phones.

    I unlocked many phones just by calling customer service and asking for the code. In some cases when they didn’t have it readily available, they got in touch with the manufacturer and got it for me.

    They were also the only carrier to offer discounted plans for people who wanted to pay full price for the handset.

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    1. Agreed. And not to mention their customer service which bent over backwards to make you happy. AT&T is the exact opposite of that.

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      1. I agree about the excellent customer service, which is why I switched to t-mobile in the first place.

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      2. This is exactly the reason and scenario I am with T-Mobile. I started with them with the Sidekick, but then, was given an older Nokia phone by my dad that was on AT&T and AT&T wanted a one for less service and horrible customer interaction.

        T-Mobile was able to unlock the phone so I could use other European carrier SIM cards and gave me a great plan that fit my needs. I moved all my service to T-Mobile from Sprint which was absolutely painful to deal with and data cards and phones that didn’t work or fell apart.

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      3. The opposite being that the customer is bent over forward?

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      4. Although I switched to ATT from TMobile (better rates due to company ties, and iPhone), TMobile’s service is immaculate.

        I struggle to convince ATT reps to allow me to use an unlocked smartphone on my ATT line. My fallback phone is an unlocked TMobile phone (not a smartphone) that TMobile reps unlocked within minutes of my requesting.

        TMobile had fantastic service, features, and plans.

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    2. at&t does unlock their phones if you call customer svc

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      1. That’s weird, I’ve been flatly denied multiple times.

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      2. You are wrong there are millions of frustrated iPhone owners out there who have to muck around with jailbreaks just to have their own property unlocked from the evil AT&T empire.

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      3. @rouvex Actually he is correct. AT&T cannot offer the unlock code for iPhone because it is in the contract with Apple (the true evil empire) that they cannot give out the information.

        Because Apple and AT&T have been in bed so long, people are confusing the customer service with regard to the iPhone with customer service at AT&T. We at AT&T are not able to help with the iPhone even though you bought it from us because to the T&C of the contract with Apple. Go try to get your Verizon iPhone serviced at a VZW Corporate Store. You will get the same crappy service.

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    3. This is the one area that can easily be remedied by government regulation as a price for approving the merger — all phones on the new AT&T – T-Mobile monster must be sold unlocked. If Italy can do it, so can we.

      Come on, Feds, earn your keep!

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      1. But what difference does it make? In Italy you could actually use your unlocked phone with the competition.

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      2. Three cheers for Ted T.

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    4. Unfortunatly, you are incorrect in your assessment that T-Mobile is the only US Carrier to happily give unlock codes for phones. AT&T will freely give out unlock codes for anything EXCEPT the iPhone. I know this from my own experience. You call, you ask for the MPE code for your phone, give them your IMEI, and they give you the unlock code and the model specific instructions for how to do it!

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      1. Wrong. I’ve been trying to get a non-iphone and they gave me the run around. Shit, It’s still locked and I’m not willing to pay someone else to unlock it for an extra 50.

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  5. I agree with Om, but I think he’s making the assumption that T-mobile is viable long term. Is it?

    Also, phone and equipment manufacturers have many potential customers around the world, but Om considers only the US market.

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    1. Not necessarily – he suggested that we’d be better off if T-Mobile were rescued by Sprint.

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    2. T-Mo is viable long term, it’s just that their owner, DT, doesn’t want to own them any more, and doesn’t want the hassle of spinning them off as an independent company.

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      1. I doubt that DT does now “want them”
        I DO believe they like the big chunk of money they are being handed.

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  6. the next shoe to drop will be the VZW-Sprint deal which i wager is already under way – the US will then have 2 nationwide carriers: GSM Ma Bell (at&t+tmo) and CDMA Pa Bell (VZW+Sprint) – with a sprinkle of regional and niche carriers.

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    1. Most people seem to forget that Verizon Wireless is actually a Baby Bell. So this is more apt that most would realize.

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    2. Actually, I think we’re just as likely to see one of the following deals:
      1. VZW/Sprint
      2. Vodafone sells their VZW stake and uses the cash to buy Sprint
      3. Sprint raises some new money and goes on a buying spree (Clearwire, Leap, MetroPCS, and perhaps a couple of others).

      Sprint is one of the primary supporters of MVNOs, which provide many options to consumers in the US. I believe that regulators would have a much harder time to approve a VZW/Sprint deal than they will with the ATT/TMo deal.

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  7. In terms of handset and infrastructure equipment manufacturers – you seem to forget there is more to the planet than just the United States.

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  8. Kudos Om for this article, I had a lengthy exchange with Robert Scoble raising this very point you made. We all loose by this never.

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    1. Uh Oh I just bought a house Sunday, March 20, 2011

      I Work at a T-Mobile call center, what does this mean for me?

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      1. Not to be crude, it means you’d better start looking for another job. One, At&T will axe many jobs in the buyout anyway, and two they certainly wouldn’t want to waste money employing T-mobile CSRs that waste time and energy winning countless JD Power and Associates Customer Service awards.

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      2. Start looking for a job asap. I bet the vast majority of folks at T-Mobile will start polishing up their resume this week.

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      3. If you’re like most of the T-Mo customer service reps I have talked to, you’re probably too nice and too helpful to work for ATT. Learn how to be rude and uncaring about customers, and you will probably move up at ATT. But wait to make sure the deal goes through, just in case.

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      4. It means you may think freely about joining a union … and not get fired for those very thoughts.

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      5. @skylark – Think freely about joining a union? Don’t you mean “you will almost certainly be forced into becoming a union shop?”

        I was with AT&T at the Cingular merger, and there was no viable option to keep the union vote from passing. With the horrible benefits package changes and other considerations, a large majority of call center employees felt compelled to vote for the union :(

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      6. Ive been with att. For like 5 years and never had a problem with there csr. Will not switch to any other carrier. Had sprint never again. Seen what my brother had to deal with at big red. Ill stay where im at. U might feel different but that’s how I feel

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      7. If you work at T-Mobile then you know what it means for you. Some T-Mobile employees are saying that T-Mobile is raising all the performance levels so it’s almost impossible to meet, so they can fire “at will” a large percentage of the employees as the merger is solidified. Why? Because it was said that T-Mobile doesn’t want to pay anyone unemployment benefits. If you happen to survive the mass firing, I heard that the T-Mobile severance package includes some unusual stipulations that you have to sign. If you survive to that point, be sure and read it carefully before signing.
        As usual, the big companies get bigger and gain control of consumer prices/services by swallowing up the competition; the lobbyists get wealthier as they host the cheap version of “Let’s Make A Deal” with the political decision makers; and the common working man/woman gets the shaft. It’s business as usual in the good ole’ USA. Sad beyond definition!

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  9. Choices make for competition in price, service and breadth. Monopolies create high prices little choice and poor service.ATT customer service falls further when this goes through. AAPL becomes a winner here with more distribution with tmobile customer base. Overall duopololies and monopolies have never been good for the consumer. Five years ago Microsoft own the operating system market. Today osx linux and others are talking share. That change was a result of competition not consolidation.

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  10. Yep – we’re all screwed on this one. Hope the Feds derail it.

    I’d worry less about Google, though. Plenty of carriers out there in the world. We may not see the good stuff here in the US, but others will.

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  11. If Google looses is Apple winning? My guess is that the two major ones(T, VZ), will play MS/Nokia against Android(good timing on MS part to have a chance to get a food in the door,bing mobile search,…). I don’t think they will try and push Apple around to much.
    Maybe two/three winners:
    Apple
    MS/Nokia

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    1. I’ll add Apple as a winner here as well. If the deal goes through, suddenly T-Mobile’s customers will be able to buy the iPhone and Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and the rest will have fewer potential customers.

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      1. Android phones today are still surpassing iphone. Iphone is limited and the android phones are more open. A merger like this would give many people a choice for the phone that they want, but i doubt it would help the iphone out. My opinion i have had att and tmobile they both suck, but if i had to choose i would have tmobile. Tmobile has cheaper plans and cooler phones than the iphone. Now they both suck because with both i have experianced a lot of droped calls more with att. I had sprint and recently switched to att and i had way more droped calls than sprint. Now I currently have virginmobile which is owned by sprint and just pay 40 dollars a month for 1200 minutes and unlimited text, web, email and data. I currently have the samsung intercept running android os. My dad has a iphone and i can do far more on my prepaid phone for 40 a month vs his billed iphone on att were he pays 60 a month for 200 minutes 200mb of data and 1000 text. My opinion is sprint billed and prepaid will win because they have cheaper plans and better phones. Plus att network 3g is already on the verge of a crash do to all the data the iphone uses therfore a lot of people will jump ship and switch to sprint, prepaid sprint services or verizon. Att is going to crush tmobile and hurt their self in the long run.

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  12. T-Mo is losing subs at an alarming rate and their parent company has publically stated that they needed to show the abilityt to stand on their own. Guess what, it isn’t going to happen! So look at the alternatives, sell to a cash rich company with like technology. Or sell to Sprint. Please refer to Nextel merger. You tell me what makes the most sense.

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  13. Translation: it sucks for AT&T haters, like the author.

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    1. Actually, it sucks for a lot of T-Mobile customers who chose the carrier specifically because they were not AT&T. By that I mean that T-Mobile offers great customer service, fairly priced plans, and hasn’t been a complete control freak about devices on their network.

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      1. I don’t know why people are so worried about the prices of service…AT&T has very reasonably priced plans, I’ve had all carriers and tmobile was good but their phones sucked! I’m glad if the merger goes thru, I see this as everyone WINNING!!! booo to verizon for being so darned expensive and still have dropped calls!

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      2. THIS.

        I have AT&T for my high speed internet at my house because I have no other decently priced option, and I HATE having to call customer service.
        T-mobiles customer service is FANTASTIC. I’ve called about any number of things from number ports to misbehaving phones and they’ve always helped me.

        I can’t even get to someone at AT&T who understands how a DSL line actually WORKS, and knows what I’m talking about when I tell them the line syncs, but I’m getting no data.

        This is going to be awful for T-mobile customers. Maybe the feds will disallow it, but I doubt it.

        Share
      3. +1. Love my T-mobile plan.

        Share
  14. it is a world that big one eats the small one to make their-selves more bigger, so it’s not big deal at all.

    Share
    1. But in THIS part of the world we are supposed to have a government that protects the consumer against abuses of monopolistic companies. I have been a customer of this company since 1997, and I have been perfectly satisfied with practically ALL of my experience in those years.

      Share
      1. I’ve been with TMO since they came to town in the 90s too. I tried AT&T just fir the iPhone for a month and though the phone was cool, the phone service stunk! I don’t care how mant features my cell phone has, I heed one that works well as a phone! I also use UMA and the stupid AT&T people told me the iPhone would also do it. Bottom line, they didn’t even know what it was! I’ll be so sad to see TMO go away.

        Share
  15. I have been a very happy TMobile Customer for many years. I have the MyTouch 3G and it’s been the best phone and they have provided the best service. This is NOT good news.

    Share
    1. I agree I have been with Tmobile when they bought over Voicestream. I stuck with them because the packages were consumer friendly and the customer service was and still is the best. I have had experience with ATT and they have the I dont care what you think about me attitude, even in the customer service. NOTHING GETS RESOLVED ONLY PUSHED TO THE SIDE!

      Share
  16. Om – couldn’t agree more. While I am an iPhone user (mainly), I also keep a Nexus One for development as well as to use when I need a reliable carrier in those certain iPhone hating markets (SF, for example).

    TMo has been great in terms of customer service. Easy to set up, easy to get unlock codes, friendly and informative. The only saving grace on the AT&T is having a business account (they are a bit friendlier/knowledgable) and when there is a hardware issue, the Genius Bar.

    I’m waiting to see what AT&T will try and impose on those accounts that have TMo unlimited data and tethering…

    Share
    1. Since AT&T has unlimited data plans, and tethering plans are available, why should there be any change? Tethering plans are almost never unlimited anyway… even my T-mobile aircard has a data threshold. They just throttle when I reach it, although given their normal data speeds, I wonder just how slow they’ll actually make me.

      Share
    2. AT-T did away with the unlimited plans when Apple wasn’t going to let them sell the I-Phone if they didn’t. The plans were supposed to be locked in on the smart phones, but then they reclassified what a smart phone was, so nothing was locked in. Unlimited will only be available on non-smart phones.

      Share
    3. I agree that the customer service is better as a business customer. However, they also just jacked up my rates as a business consumer so much that we switched everyone in the company to a personal plan to save cost.

      Share
  17. I see no bias whatsoever, just pure analytics. And not found anywhere else so far in this late breaking development. And poo on those that things the views in this article are from the vantage point of just being hateful of AT&T. Since Verizon got the iPhone, The mother of all phone monopolies has been scheming to take back some of Big V’s mojo. AT&T remains the most dissatisfying of all the major carriers, and adding more bulk to it’s hull isn’t going to improve it at all.

    Share
    1. I have heard Om on TWiT and, while he makes some valid points about the supplier-buyer relationships (though as others have noted, the world is bigger than the US), he definitely comes across a bona fide AT&T hater. He titles the article as everyone losing when AT&T clearly wins, AT&T’s customers likely win as the additional spectrum from T-Mobile will be beneficial to expanding network capacity, and T-Mobile can be said to win as well given legitimate questions about their long-term viability. Om is entitled to his opinion and I don’t discount some of the valid points, but I do think you have to take this article with a grain of salt.

      Share
      1. I think people have to take astroturfers like you with a grain of salt.

        Share
      2. This merger will be a nightmare for att already way too congested network, I think the company who will benefit the most from this merger will be VZW, their plans are now cheaper than at&t’s, att is only cheaper if u don’t text and verizon is still offer unlimited data on a faster more reliable network. Customer service is far better than what u get with at&t, and even diehard apple fanatics still get what they want

        Share
    2. I don’t think some people know what the word “bias” means. If you don’t agree with their opinion, then you must be “biased”.

      Bias means “prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.” Regardless of whether the author of this article is biased (which I doubt) or not, he has articulated his reasons for his opinion. If you believe that his articulated reasons are wrong, counter his reasoning with pertinent facts, logic or reasoning of your own. Don’t simply tell me to disregard rational arguments just because they might have come from a potentially biased source. Make your case.

      Share
  18. In the handset and OS you have the odd man out now practically locked out, which is Microsoft and Nokia.

    Share
    1. Actually, Microsoft made headlines when it said it wanted to be the best mobile OS provider for the “Carriers”. Not consumers, carriers. Bet on it that MS will bend over backwards and offer great value to ATT and Verizon to discount Android, which anyway is screwing up because of all the bloatware these carriers are dumping on it.
      Actually, Om, here I can see a very clear winner: Evil.

      Share
  19. This makes me really sad. I wonder how the different manufactures will react to this. More carriers produced more phones which produced more options. So to see T-Mobile go is sad.

    However, its not all bad. T-Mobile issued a statement regarding the acquisition.

    In the statement they gave a few of the common questions they were asked and answer to them regarding the buy out. You can check it out here: goo.gl/hYN9u

    Share
  20. I am not happy with this. T Mobile has a better network, better customer service, better plans, better everything, and is Android HQ. This is a bad deal for the customers, and manufacturers. For the few T Mobile users who want an iPhone, they see this as good, but read that fine print *shakes head*. This probably means I will be moving to Verizon when the contract I just renewed is up.

    Share
    1. Aside from other concerns I would say Apple is the only winner. Its clearly a bad thing for android to have most of their developer base swept away to a company being leaned on by apple.

      Share
  21. ashley hernandez Sunday, March 20, 2011

    i work for at&t and im upset this happen

    Share
  22. Thanks for a great summary of what’s bad about this acquisition. I’ve been on the losing end of an AT&T buyout before and quickly discovered that the company seems to actually be proud of their horrible customer service. They still have that “We’re the phone company – we don’t have to care what you think” attitude that I remember from before the breakup.

    I switched to T-Mobile because of their low prices and great customer service. If past experience is any guide, both will soon be a memory.

    Share
  23. Industry innovation should be just fine. After all, it was AT&T that threw out old business principles and brought us the iPhone (Verizon wasn’t going to do it). And you forget that LightSquared’s hybrid terrestrial/satellite (LTE) cell network will soon come online. Then, we’ll be right back to four major U.S. carriers. From what I’ve read, LightSquared will turn the industry upside down.

    Share
    1. HD Boy, AT&T didn’t bring the iPhone, Apple did.

      Share
  24. Wow talk about sensationalist journalism. All of your arguments are flawed. So flawed.

    Share
    1. Why don’t you explain WHY his arguments are flawed instead of just telling us that they are flawed?

      Share
  25. Wow, talk about bias. Way to go buddy, you just showed everyone how much of a TMobile lover you are and how much if an ATT hater you are.

    While it’s generally right to say that less competition is not as good for consumers, you are blowing it WAY out of proportion. Typical doomsdayer sensationalist journalism.

    Share
    1. flamepanther Sunday, March 20, 2011

      So you admit that this news is bad for T-Mobile’s fans/users? That must be the case if bashing AT&T means he’s a T-Mobile lover.

      But wait! If this news IS bad for T-Mobile users, and he’s opining that the news is bad for T-Mobile users, what part of that is biased?

      Share
    2. The facts speak for themselves, jack. Another inane comment from someone who stumbled on this column. “generally right”? Completely right, and nothing sensational in what Om has to say.

      Share
  26. Given that you state that the deal will be good for the respective company’s shareholders I can’t see what your problem is… after all, who are the executives working for?? The Govt??

    Share
    1. The problem is that we, the consumers, get the crappy end of the stick.

      Share
  27. Consolidation of power like this will lead to new services popping up, as customers won’t put up with high prices and bad service. Scenario: Google becomes a carrier itself. Apple could as well.

    Share
    1. From scratch? The money, the permits, the backbone. Maybe even the regulatory oversight. Just not going to happen. Unless you know of a different wireless scheme that doesn’t involve highspeed lines to various spread out towers, I don’t see how this will be possible.

      Share
  28. Several years ago an IOS update broke voice mail service for people using an iPhone on T-Mobile. TMO rushed to push out an update to their VM system. Anyone think AT&T would do that? It took years for them to enable mms on the iPhone!

    Share
  29. …Oh, and…
    I fled Sprint for AT&T’s iPhone. The customer service at AT&T is wonderful compared to the Sprint tech support cesspool.

    If AT&T gets more spectrum, bandwidth and towers (with a little larger footprint) out of this, it will be a win for customers.

    Only Net Neutrality would have saved consumers on prices, by not allowing these companies to throttle bandwidth so that can charge based on usage.

    I’d argue the industry NEEDS more consolidation and I’d like to see Verizon and Sprint merge. I’d also like to see the government REQUIRE that all next-generation phones be multi-carrier devices if this or future deals are to be approved.

    End carrier phone exclusivity, market phones with multiple cell radios like Apple is preparing to do and consolidation makes sense. That is what will force carriers to compete on price.

    Share
    1. I doubt Verizon and Sprint would merge anytime soon because of the fact that Vzn is implementing a LTE 4G infastructure as opposed to Sprint’s WiMax 4G, which are not compatible with each other.

      I agree that phones should not be carrier-exclusive. It would be better to be able to pick your phone, then pick the carrier that suits you. I think this will be more of a possibility in the future, since three of the four major carriers have chosen to persue the LTE 4G infastructure for the future.

      As for the government Requiring things, in a more free market with less gov regulation imposed, everyone wins.

      Share
  30. invisiblefist Sunday, March 20, 2011

    everything about this sucks, except one thing. n900 users that had att might get 3g service now!

    Share
  31. Sorry but this article sounds like it was written by an angry sprint employee or investor. The truth is at&t is more innovative than any other carrier. They are the only true smooth transition to lte, they were the carrier who put reputation aside to bring apple to the market and they have created a competitive market place and enabled non data centric customers to have a smartphone without spending 30 a month. They we’re also the first to drop data pricing from 45 to 30 four years ago. I don’t think you’ve looked at how this will keep handset manufacturers busy producing pentaband phone, allows cell tower companies to create new base station components that will allow for seamless handoffs between all 4 hspa+ bands and give 135 million customers better coverage and a strong path to lte. Please look at this from an unbiased and non anti at&t perspective before you publish such rubbish.

    Share
    1. So says an AT&T boss man.

      My data pricing has been $25 from the start at TMO.

      My coverage is fine.

      Share
    2. What? What transition? They don’t have the backhaul in place to do any transition. They’ve rested on their laurels since they got the iPhone and let their network die on the vine in favor of investor and executive profits.
      What reputation did the put aside? Apple’s deal was we get all the profit on the phone, and you get all the profit on the data plans. AT&T didn’t put anything aside.

      This brings nothing to the table for the consumer, the US job market, nor the handset manufacturers. The only thing it does is reduce competition, selection, and diversity abroad and in the US.

      You are a shill and a bad one at that.

      Share
  32. “Google. I think the biggest loser in this could be Google. In T-Mobile, it has a great partner for its Android OS-based devices. Now the company will be beholden to two massive phone companies — Verizon and AT&T — who are going to try to hijack Android to serve their own ends.”

    Um, they both are already doing this, for example, with crapware that can’t be uninstalled. Now, without competition from a smaller company that had to be more consumer-friendly, they can reduce their pretense of being interested in anything but the customer’s wallet.

    Share
  33. My only bone to pick with this article has to do with the idea that Google is going to be pushed around by the networks. Google wouldn’t let themselves be pushed around by the Chinese or US governments. I doubt AT&T is going to fare any better.

    Share
    1. really? then maybe you can explain why AT&T users can’t download non-Android Market apps? Or why the carriers are able to extort 20% revenue share from android apps from Market? or why Google has been unable to provide carrier billing to consumers on Market beyond AT&T and T-mobile?

      Share
      1. My understanding is that on VZW, if you install unauthorized Android software it will literally fry your phone… Moto Droid (2?) with the fuse chip in it.

        Share
  34. could be a win for Sprint

    after ATT jacks up Tmo customers prices to standard ATT rates then many may leave to hop on Sprint.

    Share
  35. This is bad, very bad. As a loyal customer of T-Mobile since it was Aerial in ’97 and the wife of an ATT employee, this is bad. To quote one of the facebook comments, “which Android phone should I get on Verizon?”

    Share
    1. Have any of you actually read anything else besides this? Go to tmobiles website and read the new FAQ they just posted…tmobile will stay INDEPENDANT….all this does is offer better coverage for both networks…and besides this deal will take over a year to complete…tmobile employees are safe for now

      Share
      1. They don’t say they will stay independent. They say in a deliberately confusing way that they are independent until the merger happens.

        Share
    2. Thunder bolt or Droid x just switched from t mo about 5days ago and I love it nothing against tmo I had them for about 3yrs last phone was the g2 great phone by the way there plans are not tht much more expensive I’m paying the same as I was with tmo glad I got out just in time I didn’t even know about the merg p.s iPhone six its way over rated

      Share
  36. Wasn’t AT&T a mega company that was a monopoly and was for that reason split into fraction companies. Why are the regulatory authorities allowing AT&T to merge with and buy itself into a monopoly? To be split again and the process repeats itself again …?

    Share
    1. No. Same name, different company. SBC acquired the rights to the name when they bought what was left of the old AT&T in 2005.

      Even if that were the case, any talk of monopoly is ridiculous, since it ignores the fact that there are two other carriers (besides AT&T) that are larger than T-Mobile.

      Share
      1. Joe McPlumber Thursday, March 24, 2011

        But it IS a monopoly on the GSM network.

        Share
    2. Interesting point. The original AT&T was a government sanctioned monopoly. They were sued and, in a ground breaking court case, they were order to divest themselves of their phone services. At the end of the day, there was a company called AT&T plus several regional “Baby Bells”.

      It didn’t take long before the “Baby Bells’ stared acquiring each other. Verizon was one of the original Baby Bells. Another Baby Bell actually purchased the original AT&T and renamed themselves AT&T. I’m not in favor of government sanctioned monopolies, but clearly the courts did not understand economics. It’s taken a while, but one-by-one, the pieces of the phone industry are re-consolidating. In an age where we want service to be universal and ubiquitous, small and regional carriers make little or no sense.

      Share
  37. I completely agree Om.

    I’m a T-Mobile customer and while I’m not in love with the carrier, I enjoy many freedoms that AT&T doesn’t offer (e.g., @Home line for $10/mo, free tethering on NS, off-contract options, UMA, etc.). Outside of the pre-paid carrier market, T-Mobile is one of the only carriers offering genuinely consumer-friendly options. If anything, AT&T is trending in the opposite direction (e.g., tethering, femtocells, etc.), in terms of consumer friendly innovation.

    U.S. carriers already have too much power, consolidation is not a good direction for consumers. Hopefully, regulators will want to slow down big consolidation a bit after Comcast, and will shut this one down.

    Share
  38. Ok, I have to weigh in here. I am an AT&T customer. Before that, I was a Cellular One customer. Guess what? I survived the buyout of Cellular One in 2007 and couldn’t be happier with my AT&T service and phone. Just like T-Mo, Cell One wasn’t viable long term. I think everyone wins here. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the LTE maps AT&T has made public. It’s a huge win for rural customers like myself – plus now T-Mo customers will get LTE. Who really loosed here? Sprint? WHO CARES!!

    Share
  39. Wow! This is fantastic news. Anything that helps to drive a bullet in the heart of the kludged together experiment that is Android is great news indeed. I think Apple is a big winner here. They just expanded their customer base. If it’s good or Apple, it’s bad for Google. Long live AT&T/TM.

    Share
    1. the little recognized fact is at&t has horrific customer service they dont help customers this is a fact look at consumer reports or cnet even the bbb their just bad and t-mobile customers suffer through some of the best customer service available. how long do you think they will stay arround.

      I called 611 tonight to find my contract date and the rep said they’ve been flooded with calls asking when they need to switch because they wont go to at&t. i have a big feeling sprint and verizon are very happy they are about to get a lot of new contracts at&t was counting on to pay for this fiasco. when my contract is up in august sprint here i come after 7 years i am very sad to go.

      P.S. did everyone forget the whole your phone isn’t working because your holding it wrong nightmare. lol

      Share
  40. Derek Bolander Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Rethink possible, everybody. Rethink possible.

    Now more customers can experience the wonder of simultaneous dropped calls and data.

    Share
  41. You forgot one class of people on the losing end: current employees. Let’s translate this paragraph to real-world language:

    “The T-Mobile deal may give AT&T a way to boost earnings because of the money the companies would save by combining their operations. The companies’ estimate that they could have $40 billion in synergies is a realistic assessment, said Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with Credit Suisse Group AG.”

    Translation: “An army of employees are going to be served their walking papers.”

    Share
  42. This sounds like a raw deal for consumers. As an AT&T customer I had lousy service both on mobile (particularly bad coverage in SF and NYC) and on my broadband internet service at home. On the mobile front, I was able to change to Sprint which has been pretty good. However, at home it’s been a disaster. They’ve had to replace my router twice and even when they installed U-verse we eventually switched back to Direct TV. So, overall I’d have to agree that for consumers this probably isn’t good news.

    The one thing Om leaves out: one winner for sure are the investment bankers. As usual, they’ll make a ton of money for brokering a deal that is both bad for consumers and ultimately bad for employees at both companies. There are reams of data showing that 90% of mergers generally fail and my guess is this one will be no different. Seems like all the bad old habits and excess of Wall Street bankers are alive and well with this ridiculous merger.

    The best thing the FCC could do would be to kill this deal fast

    Share
  43. I remember when Ma Bell owned the phones and every month they would charge you a fee for renting the phone in your house. I hope at the least the government will require them to unlock all their phones or the regional GSM carriers will be crushed due to exclusivity. Perhaps they should even decouple selling phones apart from service so you buy a service plan and you buy a phone independently.

    Share
  44. Tmobile already has the best prices for minutes and plans in the market with innovative phones to choose from. I think this is a really bad deal, because ATT already has the worst customer service in the nation and I dont think it would get any better. At least with tmobile the customer service was awesome. I think Att is just looking for control of the market not the innovativeness of catering to the public. I do believe everything would be charged for. An even better merger would be another company that could use Tmobile’s innovative directions.

    Share
  45. How, exactly, can AT&T regain a monopoly it never had? If you had been paying attention, you would know that the company currently using this name is not the same company that was broken up over 25 years ago. Coupled with some bad facts (e.g. GSM phones have a worldwide market, not one limited to the United States), one has to wonder if the entire argument isn’t simply sour grapes.

    Share
  46. Required field Sunday, March 20, 2011

    The Feds better not allow this. Just got back from India where cell phone minutes cost two cents. There are at least ten cell phone companies in India. Competition does matter and we need more not fewer companies. FWIW I’m an AT&T user.

    Share
  47. Peter Mullen Sunday, March 20, 2011

    I was going to join t-Mobile shortly and check out the Nexus S (a favorite of Fred Wilson and many others) when my Sprint contract is up in a couple months. Not now. I don’t want to go anywhere near AT&T with their suckass network and customer service. Say good-bye to real consumer choice.

    Share
  48. Rather than just say this merger is bad for consumers; it would be great if your article listed who we can mail to voice our concerns about this merger.

    Better than complaining is doing something about it.

    Share
  49. I think the biggest losers will be t-mobile employees like myself that have an att store right up the road

    Share
  50. Winner? Att customers. Winner? T mobile customers.

    Google a loser? Hardly. So what if android gets changed up to suit the carrier needs? Let them build their own phone and sell it subsidy free if they’re so worried about it.

    Share
  51. Apple seeks to provide the best possible user experience. That’s why they’re so successful and so loved by their customers.

    AT&T and Verizon and Comcast seek to extract the maximum revenue possible from the consumer. That’s why they’re universally hated by their customers. Bend over and grease up before doing business with them.

    T-Mobile offered better pricing, especially with their prepaid plans. I doubt they did it because they wanted to. More likely because it was one way the could fight against the goliaths.

    Share
  52. This will probably fall on deaf ears, but …

    lose – opposite of win;
    loose – not restrictive, not tight, free, as in “My belt is loose.”

    Share
    1. I feel for you but I don’t think there is any way back to the way it was. Perhaps it is time to coin “looze”, retire “lose” and hopefully people will leave “loose” alone to be used properly.

      Share
  53. There’s too much U.S.-market focus in this analysis. Handsets and network equipment are a global business. The U.S. market can’t dictate their fate or control prices. The article also spending too much time looking in the rear-view mirror. Data is becoming king, and T-Mobile has no plan for moving to LTE, which means that T-Mobile customers are destined to fall behind in the data race if nothing changes.

    Share
  54. I’m not an AT&T super-fan, but is it totally fair to call AT&T non-innovative? They were the only ones to give Apple the concessions they wanted in order to bring the iPhone to market. If they hadn’t done that, the phone market would be in much sadder shape that it is now.

    Share
  55. I LOVE T Mobile – Tm THE BEST customer service out there! & their phones ROCK! oh well, better AT&T than Verizon – BLEKH!!!!!

    Share
  56. Google will partner with LightSquared for it’s own LTE network: http://www.davidafenton.com/2011/03/at-to-buy-t-mobile-for-39-billion-itll.html

    Share
  57. xrayangiodoc Sunday, March 20, 2011

    I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile last May. I had read Consumer Reports evaluation of T-Mobile’s excellent customer service and have nothing but good things to say about them. While AT&T and Verizon both wanted $30 a month extra for their data plans, T-Mobile provides an unlimited $10 a month plan on my Nokia Nuron. Unlock codes were provided without difficulty so I could put a cheap German SIM card in when we visited Europe and use the phone without difficulty. The lifetime free GPS also worked well in Germany.Perhaps we should start voicing objections to the merger when the FTC solicits public comments.

    Share
  58. AT&T-Mobile?
    hope it works out and they get everything right AT&T should loosen up some
    put back unlimited data, open access to third party app on android [as if i cant get around it ;)], and make their plans cheaper if they would… you know be a bit lenient this could actually work for every one
    and i really hope it does for their sake cause if it doesn’t that 41 billion lost for at&t which could lead to a possible increase on my bill and thats money i really dont want to spend

    Share
  59. iphonedroidberry Sunday, March 20, 2011

    FUD, FUD, and more FUD. I expected better from you, Mr. Malik. And your comment, “AT&T, on the other hand, has the innovation of a lead pencil” has no basis in reality. Please go do some research on Bell Labs (now AT&T Labs). Also Cingular/AT&T worked with Apple in developing the iPhone, one of the most innovative mobile devices ever created. And Cingular/AT&T invented visual voicemail. Innovation is what drives AT&T. Much of what people do nowadays on the internet and on cell phones and smartphones is possible because of AT&T Bell Laboratories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_Bell_Labs#Discoveries_and_developments

    Share
  60. Maybe this is why AT&T’s network is so buggy: https://www.eff.org/issues/nsa-spying

    Share
  61. It certainly seems like the horse is out of the barn on this one. It’s horrible, of course; but we made the wrong turn ages ago by selling the spectrum to these lousy networks, and letting them use their own incompatible protocols to lock out the world. It looks like we’ll have three, or two, wireless telecoms in a year or so, such that Ma Bell will seem like a benign old biddy compared to AT&T and Verizon.

    Share
  62. which VZW Android LTE phones should I get?

    Share
  63. love T-Mobile Sunday, March 20, 2011

    The absolutely wonderful T-Mobile customer service reps are definitely going to be without a job.
    I’ve had T-Mobile for about nine years now, and I’ve had my landline and internet with AT&T for even longer. Whenever I make a call to T-Mo, the CSR’s are so people friendly, concerned, and take the time to see that you are truly satisfied. AND they are located in the US. When I need to call AT&T for anything–which I desperately avoid doing–I am put on hold and have to guess my way through a labyrinth of buttons to press before I finally talk to someone. Then the person who answers is located in India or the Philippines and everything that is said is so highly scripted it makes me cringe. I can’t imagine AT&T will keep any US employees, especially CSR’s when they’ve already got them outsourced in other countries. Less jobs in the US, more money for the big corporations. Less money for the workers here in the US. Yes, it will definitely hurt many of us in a variety of way and not just those of us who happen to be T-Mobile users.

    Share
    1. Att home service and wireless cs reps aren’t the same people, I’ve been with the wireless side since 98 and have always gotten reps from the us. I doubt they’d change that, they may even keep some of the tmobile reps if they do what verizon did when they took over alltel to support their devices and possibly grandfather the old tmobile plans, that’s what verizon did at least when they took over alltel those customers could stay on the old plans until they upgraded phones… It would make since and make it an easier transition for the tmobile folks

      Share
  64. I hope the price don’t go up, such BS.

    Share
  65. I hope the price don’t go up, such BS.

    Share
  66. Brilliant chess move by ATT. By offering a $39B offer for T-MO they get to tie up the 4th largest wireless company for 1 year (and block the 3rd largest company Sprint as well) with the uncertainty of the merger. If the merger is approved, it is a major win by ATT, if blocked, it is still a win by ATT since it results in a delay in the emergence of a viable 3rd competitor and they don’t waste cash/stock/treasure on damaged goods.

    Sprint and T-Mo independently have not been viable competitors, that is why their merger was seen as a net positive for the consumer in the long run. This ATT/T-Mo deal will certainly eliminate the possibility of a 3rd major emerging in the long run.

    If the deal goes through, there is no possibility of a Verizon-Sprint merging later on (unless Sprint is forced into bankruptcy by the Verizon/Att duopoloy over the coming years).

    -Brian B

    Share
  67. Matthew Farley Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Wireless created and caused this purchased. This is all about wireless.

    Share
  68. What a clusterhump this is going to be.

    Share
    1. Definitely!

      Share
    2. Definitely!

      Share
  69. Couldn’t agree more Gigaom – as a loyal T-Mobile customer who has enjoyed great customer service, low prices and un-restricted Android phones I am extremely disappointed in T-Mobile selling out to the original telecoms monopoly. Just how much longer before Verizon merges with Sprint and then AT&T buys Verizon and we are back to square one? https://www.facebook.com/pages/T-Mobile-unfriend-ATT/210217668993461

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    1. I have been a customer since 1997 and I have loved my service, the phones, and the customer service. I have three lines. We LOVE the loyalty plan,the data,the phones, etc. I plan to write a letter to everyone who will listen to not let this merger happen. I will NOT give AT&T one cent of my money. I spend a lot on my TMobile every month, and for the unlimited plans, it is worth it.Hmm, wonder how AT&T will feel when all the customers of TMobile leave and go to Sprint, or prepaid just not to fall into their crappy operation? This is so bad!

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  70. OR……If it is not allowed, as we all hope, T-mobile gains $ (reported there is a clause if regulators stop AT&T must pay t-mobile) and can then either stay itself or do the Sprint deal. Either way T-mobile will not lose other than if folks leave before it is a done deal.

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  71. It sucks because T-Mobile and Sprint are the only national carriers offering fair prices for consumers. AT&T and Verizon are the opposite. AT&T and Verizon = The Most Expensive Wireless Plans in America. We know where Verizon (the 10th leading U.S. lobbyist) and AT&T (the 12th leading U.S. lobbyist) get all that money to run commercials 24×7, pay out huge “fat cat” executive bonuses and hire armies of lawyers and lobbyists to push the U.S. market into a wireless industry duopoly — the American consumer.

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  72. What I would like to see is a merger between DirecTV and T-Mobile. This would solve the problem of DirecTV not being able to provide bundled voice, media, and data packages like AT&T or Time Warner. The merged company would be able to offer DirecTV along with T-Mobile’s wireless service and 4G network, which was good enough that some people were using it as their sole Internet provider. Additionally, the customer-centric cultures at both DirecTV & T-Mobile would mesh well, fewer jobs would be cut since it is a true merger, and I don’t foresee any regulatory pushback.

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    1. That actually sounds like a good plan!

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  73. I’m looking forward to a Verizon-Sprint deal next week. AT&T knows this won’t pass muster with the Feds. It’s just trying to delay a T-Mobile-Sprint deal. T-Mobile got hoodwinked.

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  74. This is the best news for U.S. cellular customers since the advent of the iPhone because no matter what network seamlessness is about to improve, at least in the GSM market. And it’s great news for current T Mobil customers because they’ll finally have the choice of picking-up the iPhone and iPad. And obviously for iPhone and iPad current and future owners, this is great news.

    For Verizon, yes, it’s bad news. Ditto Google.

    Hope this merger is approved and soon.

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    1. Why is it assumed T-Mobile customers will be happy to “finally “get an iPhone? Most of us Android users choose Android over iPhone and I’ve personally had both at&t and T-Mobile. I was originally with cellular one, survived that buyout but the Cingular merger was so poorly managed left to go to T-Mobile and refuse to go backwards. Being forced to buy a new phone and paying a fee to do it (oh yeah, they will too) is not an option for me.

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  75. This really sucks. Why? T-Mobile’s new network was giving their phones the data speed edge over everyone else, while AT&T came in dead last in this category, according to a test conducted by PC World. T-Mobile offers cheaper service vs expensive service by AT&T. T-Mobile was still offering unlimited data while AT&T did away with unlimited data. T-Mobile ranked among the hightest in customer service satisfaction vs AT&T having the worst customer service of all subscribers, according to J. D. Powers recent five year surveys. This is a Lose-Lose situation for consumers. I will be canceling my service with T-Mobile if they allow this takeover…

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  76. Are we going to be able to use IPhones with Tmobile?

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  77. I’m shocked.. this sucks.. I guess I better get to talkin to VZW.

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  78. We need a white knight – where is Larry Lessig when you need him? What is Lessig up to these days, isn’t he helping out the Obama admin?

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  79. Where are the anti-trust authorities in the US?
    Who makes sure there is true competition? What kind of free market can you have with just 3 players for a market the size of US??

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    1. Tmobile was pretty amazing in alot of areas but this merger does seem gloomy. However if they screw up and impose the same AT&T philosophy on this new merger, don’t forget people can run to these grassroot companies like metro pcs, virgin mobile, boost, cricket, pageplus. I don’t know yes tmobile rocks. yes att sucks. but can’t things change. hopefully they will merge some of tmobiles philosophy into this merger… hopefully or we can all move to Europe.

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  80. While I agree with much of what you said, I cannot believe that you would even suggest that Google is the “biggest loser in this”. Honestly, Google prints money and can fend for itself with Verizon, At&t and Sprint.

    Otherwise you are right, practically everyone except for At&t and T-mobile loses from this. Its sad that the cellular market is moving towards this a duopoly anyway.

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  81. For all the talk of consumers losing, hasn’t T-Mobile been steadily losing subscribers for a few years now, or at least adding them at a slower rate than the rest of the industry? It would seem that consumers, in aggregate have spoken, and T-Mobile is NOT their carrier of choice.

    I’m a current T-Mobile customer, haven been for eight years. Stuck with them for the superior customer service and affordable plans, but I can’t deny that their handset selection leaves much to be desired and the use of 1700 MHz for AWS 3G was a strategic, compatibility-killing blunder. I’ve been toying with switching carriers at the end of my contract, and my honest primary concern if AT&T does indeed acquire TMo is how that affects spectrum. How long until the need for carrier-specific phones for 3G is a thing of the past?

    I’ve got no love for AT&T, but a Sprint acquisition would probably been worse – almost as bad as a potential VZW purchase. In a world where TMo was absolutely for sale, I view this as the best possible outcome. And THAT’S the real tragedy.

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  82. There is a winner. Google Voice. Loyalty is dead in mobile.

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  83. You think that’s customers they are buying? They are UN-customers – people who wanted anything but AT&T. Just read all the comments on Facebook and in the forums, they are livid about it – they are already lining up to go elsewhere. Lets say a miracle happens and AT&T manages to hold on to 50% of the current customer base beyond their current contracts, where do all the other 50% go? Easy, right into the laps of their arch enemy Verizon (okay, some to Sprint too) who is probably rubbing their hands with glee right now. 20 million customers lining up at their door and it didn’t cost them a penny. Net result – Verzion +20M for virtually $0, AT&T +20M for $39B plus all the acquisition costs. And that’s just a blue-sky take… if they lose more like 75% then it will be a net loss for AT&T against Verizon. My guess is AT&T will choke on this deal for quite a while and you wont find any T-Mobile customers rushing to save them.

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  84. Whether this article is biased or not, I agree with the writer. I wish he had elaborated more on the first point, “bad for consumers” and instead called it “bad for the American people”. Deals such as this, which involve more money than any ordinary person can imagine, make me angry. I’m not a techie” ( probably spelled it wrong) and I don’t really care which k
    which kind of phone triumphs or who makes out the most among phone owners.

    Not everyone in this country owns a portable phone. Not everyone inn this country gan afford one. I’m bracing to be called a “}communist” or something bit I become dizzy when I think of the amount of bonuses that were “earned”in this transaction.

    Reading blogs is enlightening. If the best deal on a phone for the person who owns it is the measuring stick of our concerns, we should be disappointed in ourselves. Being happy that one huge corporation bested another falls into the same category. C’mon, phone owners, do you know that children in America (a lot) go to bed hungry while you, the consumers, are busy talking in your phones, and the people who take your money and fly around in private jets rejoice that you do, that there exist a pool of people “consumers” whose main concern is the next technical gadget, including but not limited to phones, that will continue to make them rich.

    Not all consumer-made billionaires are like Bill and Melinda Gates.

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  85. My problem with AT&T is that coverage in certain areas I visited from time to time was not great. But in my main city, Indianapolis, it was pretty good. I was happy that AT&T got the iPhone in 2007, and I got one immediately. Good purchase.

    Contrary to what many have experienced here, I have always received excellent customer service from AT&T–basically none since 2004, when they were Cingular.

    So, for AT&T customers, this is a win. The network will be bigger and better–what’s not to dig?

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  86. How will it affect the current plans of tmobile customers?

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  87. Since I have been on all four carriers, I just want to throw in my two cents:

    _ economics 101: fewer suppliers and less numerical competitors in a given market means prices go up. People arguing this point are arguing against the basics of economics that everyone knows.
    – yes, the US is one market, but a very large, very significant one. And additional choices being available in another country does not mean US consumers, or a chunk of them, will not be displeased to see a wireless competitor go away
    – T-Mobile has plenty of competitive, well received phones. The G2, the MyTouch, the HD7, the Blackberry Bold…none of these may appeal to you, but it cannot be said that T-Mobile does not offer decent phone selection just because they don’t have the iphone. Not all of us want it. I had it, didn’t like it, left AT&T thereafter. Right now, it makes a great ipod.
    – let’s stop the claim that AT&T’s prices are competitive or reasonabke. I have a family plan with 4 voice lines, 3 with unlimited data lines. I also have a mobile hotspot on this plan (right now fulfilled by a Dell Streak 7). I have carried this plan across all four carriers at various, and recently, while deciding to switch to T-Mobile, shopped this plan across all four major carriers to price compare. The recent price comparison was in sync with my actual experiences on each carrier over the last four years. AT&T was the most expensive, followed by Verizon, then Sprint, and T-Mobile was the least. I moved from Verizon to TMo and my bill is $92 less. This is not subkective, this is a quantifiable metric.

    Maybe it “will be ok”…in the short run. Maybe TMo customers won’t get bit this year. Maybe it won’t happen for a couple of years. But I can’t point to a single change that AT&T has made recently that has been pro-consumer, or even just pro-fair price. And a look around at other US services that are highly consolidated (cable companies, ISPs, non-cable television networks, airlines) gives me a pretty bleak outlook as to how this is going to turn out. Peace.

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  88. The sole purpose (and legal responsibility) of any public corporation is to return the highest profit it can to shareholders. Until the system changes, every company will want to be a monopoly, even though it is clearly bad for the economy (not to mention the longevity of the company).

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  89. AT&T-Mobile?
    hope it works out and they get everything right AT&T should loosen up some.
    put back unlimited data, open access to third party app on android [as if I cant get around it ;)], and make their plans cheaper if they would… you know be a bit lenient this could actually work for every one.
    and I really hope it does for their sake cause if it doesn’t that 41 billion lost for at&t which could lead to a possible increase on my bill and that’s money I really don’t want to spend.

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  90. As an AT&T employee I would say that it will actually be VERY good for customers of both companies and for the wireless world in general.

    1. If Sprint had bought T-Mo we would basically have two dominant players in Verizon and AT&T and a smaller player in Sprint/T-Mo. In the immortal words of Vic Kundotra (or however you spell it) Two turkeys don’t make an eagle. What’s to say these two struggling companies wouldn’t fold anyway.

    2. It will be good for AT&T customers because where AT&T is weak T-Mo is strong, so service should improve in New York and San Francisco, along with the other problem areas. Win for consumers.

    3. It will be good for T-Mobile customers because they will have service in the more rural areas that AT&T covers. Win for consumers.

    4. Part of the stipulations of the sale is that AT&T will cover up to 95% of the population with LTE. Win for consumers.

    As far as Handset Manufacturers, there won’t be any more or less handsets sold, the rest of the world is still going to buy handsets, there will be one less version of all the models out there, which creates a bigger economy of scale for manufacturers. Win for manufacturers.

    And Google and Android, well the handset manufacturers have already messed that up with their proprietary UIs (Sense and Motoblur) and AT&T, Verizon and Sprint haven’t had much to say about that.

    Lastly the app store thing is WILD speculation. Even if AT&T does create it’s own app store who is gonna stop the rooters and hackers from flashing back to stock Android?

    Let’s not jump off a cliff here.

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    1. Sorry Ken….I am a TMobile consumer and the “service in the more rural areas that AT&T covers” won’t affect me at all…so this is definitley NOT a win for me.

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    2. I’m not rural and can’t get a signal with at&t in my city home.
      love my unlocked, non bloated Android with unlimited data and no fee tethering.

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  91. Lightsquared is a fiasco. It is in the L band very close to consumer GPS. It will destroy GPS. I suspect lawsuits will keep lightsquared from becoming viable since GPS was here first and it vital.

    I don’t want to share bandwidth with iphone users. The iphone doesn’t do any data compression. It simply clogs the network.

    As it stands now, in the SF bay area, AT$T is just awful. I loan my T-mobile BB 9700 to iphone users that have to make calls. So I will get inferrior service, lose my UMA, lose my unlimited data, lose my free tether, and lose T-Mobile customer support.

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  92. I created an Official Petition here http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/attmerger  to show support against the merger of At&t and T-mobile.

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  93. Yes get off the caffein, this is amazing news I have both At&t and T-mobile and both company match up perfectly with At&t edging out T-mobile when it comes to services.

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    1. Ah, we see how the astroturf campaign works.
      The turfers are instructed to use the following template:
      1) Reference to food stuff: Fibre, caffeine, etc.
      2) Use a superlative: “Amazing!”
      3) Reference to some touted “improvement”
      Piss off little turfer, we do not need your pollution here.
      Go back to your AT&T masters.
      Just because China successfully uses these tactics does not mean people over here in the rest of the world will fall for it.

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  94. I dumped sprint about 2 years ago, along with a million or so other customers. Bottom line; service sucked! Verizon is alot more reliable, though national, and AT@T is international. AND, I have stock in AT@T.

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  95. pk de cville Monday, March 21, 2011

    Om,

    Will Apple save the day with a dual network iPhone 5? Capable of working w/ GSM or CDMA w/ a simple swipe in the settings?

    Would the carriers permit this? Would the FCC force them to accept a GSM/CDMA iPhone?

    Hope so, ’cause that really move the unlocked pre-paid business, wouldn’t it?

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  96. I just converted a family member’s phone from AT&T to T-Mobile, and extended the contract for another, because I despise AT&T… high prices and awful customer service…now this? If nothing else, hope AT&T learns the meaning of customer service from T-Mobile.

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  97. I just converted a family member’s phone from AT&T to T-Mobile, and extended the contract for another, because I despise AT&T… high prices and awful customer service…now this? If nothing else, hope AT&T learns the meaning of customer service from T-Mobile.

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  98. Hmmm VZW is looking mighty nice now… there’s a reason I left AT&T in 2003.

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  99. OK… I get it. You don’t like AT&T. However, if you decide to take a breath, calm down, and think about this rationally, it’s not such a big deal. AT&T may have the worst customer service, but I know more people who switch TO AT&T than FROM AT&T… mainly because they can’t stand Verizon. Besides, with the new carriers around now, the competition is still there (Cricket, Clear, and a couple others).

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  100. Everybody is talking about problems for the consumers but what about the employees of each respective company? I work for an at&t authorized dealer and my boyfriend works for t-mobile. Our stores are directly across from each other. If his store closes it’s doors, it’s a losing situation for us because he’ll have to find a new job. If at&t decides to turn it into a corporate store I’ll be out of a job because we will lose all of our business.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m very intrigued to see what will happen since in my area at&t has the superior coverage, but t-mobile has the best handset portfolio and customer service. I’m just worried about what is going to happen to the employees stuck in the middle of this merger.

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  101. If this happens, I am headed to MetroPCS. I have had AT&T in the past, and have absolutely no desire to go back. Customer service is terrible!

    And another thing…
    If you pay for unlimited data, why should you also have to pay for tethering? You are still consuming the same DATA.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing…MetroPCS here I come!

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  102. You’re all missing the point here. The real tragedy is the “death” of the T-Mobile girl in those ads. She’s hot. She’ll be missed.

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    1. I second that.

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    2. Yeah, I like her!

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  103. Agreed, this deal needs to be either quashed or have serious strings attached. AT&T on raising bandwidth prices to screw the consumer (see http://www.stopthecap.com) when they had plenty of bandwidth will only keep raising rates and lowering the bar. Those who say Verizon is competition are comparing apples to oranges since Verizon barely works outside of the U.S.

    Hey Obama, you paying attention?

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  104. From an industry perspective, and even from a consumer perspective, this deal sucks.

    The silver lining, the only possible winner, is the possibility of workers’ rights. T-Mobile has historically been anti-union, and this merger may open the possibility for T-Mobile employees to organize.

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    1. How is this a win? Oh, right. Unions are supposed to be good. I forget that all the time.

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  105. Daniel Swanson Monday, March 21, 2011

    Too much pandering to the unwashed masses who’re only interested in CHEAP, and who blindly parrot the party line, “AT&T is EVIL!”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    After the dust settles, few will miss or pine over T-Mobile’s disappearance.

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  106. WE’RE the biggest losers of all. Here’s why, and what I wish regulators would do to protect us: http://doctordisruptive.com/2011/03/21/att-tmobile-sucks/

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  107. T-Mobile is a company heading to failure. A “consumer friendly” company that is helpful for Android cannot be run as a charity. End result is that while many competing providers of infrastructure may be desirable, it is simply not an affordable business model, German company cannot afford to subsidize the consumer friendly options lauded in the article.

    Regarding competition for phones and infrastructure, recall the US is not the center of the universe and that Europe, Asia, et al, are huge markets who in general ask ATT and Verizon, who are they?

    The US is rapidly heading towards a more marginal role in smart phones based on saturated minority market. A more interesting question to ask is how will the US compete with a 100s of millions of users versus billions of users world wide.

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  108. So like will you still be able to use t-mobile only phones like the Mytouch 4G????

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  109. So like will you still be able to use t-mobile only phones like the Mytouch 4G???? I don’t wanna lose this phone its awesome!!@

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    1. what i have heard is no

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      1. Okay genius, how’s that going to work for those who already invested in these phones?

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  110. Very true on all of your points. It’s going to be a sad day for consumers very soon…

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    1. There are two branches of government that review these deals before they are allowed to proceed, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice … consumers should be ok. Plus, how can AT&T compete with Metro PCS

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    2. ‘s hilarious indian commericals without this illegal merger.

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  111. Please, oh please, will Google please step up and take a majority holding of T-Mobile. Or if not Google, I’d settle for Apple. Or Nabisco. Anyone but the death star of customer satisfaction.

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