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Why the AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Is Bad For Consumers

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the abuse-of-the-letter-t dept.

Businesses 367

adeelarshad82 writes "AT&T recently announced that it will buy T-Mobile for $39 billion. If the transaction gets approved by the government and closes in a year as planned, it will create the nation's largest wireless carrier by far. While this is great news for both companies, analysts believe that it's an awful idea for end consumers for a number of different reasons — from obvious ones, like a rise in rates due to lower competition, to subtler ones, like more selective phone choices for consumers."

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Reject (2)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563546)

The FCC has been approving way too many mergers lately. Sirius and XM (okay). Comcast and NBC (bad). ATT and T-mobile should be negated.

Re:Reject (3, Informative)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563636)

P.S.

"AT&T's 700 Mhz spectrum" came from the selloff of TV channels 52 through 69. ATT, Verizon, and the FCC are pushing to selloff channels 25 and up, too, effectively killing free television (there would be one-half as many stations).

Re:Reject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563842)

Where the hell do you live that every broadcast channel from 2 to 25 is actually in use, let alone 2-52?

Re:Reject (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564148)

For real. Where I'm at we had 2, 16, 19 (on a good day), 22 and 45. I'm pretty sure they can easily fit within the 25 channels TV would be left with.

Re:Reject (5, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563686)

It's ultimately not the FCC, but rather, the DOJ that would have to step in and stop it. So write them [justice.gov] .

Re:Reject (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563984)

He's not going to write anybody. He is a sock puppet account for the lamentably ubiquitous commodore, who seems to be burning though accounts faster all the time.

Re:Reject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35564138)

The DOJ only has jurisdiction over federal anti-trust laws. And while we may not like it, this does not actually breach any of those laws. If anything this will affect consumer protection laws. However don't hold your breath as there is no way the U.S. government will stop this merger. Seeing as we have "Unlimited*" data (*limit 5gb/mo or less) and no court has ruled that this is false advertising.

Its a done deal (4, Interesting)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563694)

They haven't denied any of the other mergers that became the current AT&T.

They didn't deny SBC when they wanted to offer long distance service either.

They're not going to deny this either.

I'm rather surprised they didn't buy Comcast.

But of course, they might try it even before this deal completes.

The "jumping to conclusions" game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563558)

At least we're not jumping to conclusions...

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Re:The "jumping to conclusions" game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563790)

You aren't a gangsta, you are a ho. The CEOs of AT&T and T-Mobile are gangstas. They are the mac daddies and you are their bitch.

This sucks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563576)

I'm a t-mobile customer, and I for one DO NOT like the idea of the merger... I will have poorer service, higher rates, and less selection on phones... But then, I'm just a customer and my opinion doesn't count.. does it...

Re:This sucks (2, Informative)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563646)

Same here. I deliberately did NOT go with ATT. I guess I should have gone with Sprint or Verizon.

Re:This sucks (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563808)

This will probably push me to a second tier carrier like Metro PCS.

T-mobile has always been customer friendly to me, and their rates are the best. They even let me save by not getting a contract and buying my phones.

Additionally I like their broadband policy the most (5gb month, then throttled, as advertised, no overage fees).

Re:This sucks (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563854)

If anyone else is considering this, be careful. Most (by market share and coverage) of the 2nd tier carriers are owned by bigger carriers. For example: Virgin and Boost are both owned by Sprint.

Re:This sucks (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564156)

Seriously? The monthly rates are lower if you buy the phone outright? I haven't seen that from any US carrier...

Re:This sucks (2, Informative)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563956)

It totally sucks. My bill will go up about 30% and the Nexus S I bought JUST LAST WEEK will apparently be useless:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42195939/ns/business-us_business/ [msn.com]

Not only that, I can't switch to any other provider with my phone because nobody else in the US is GSM.

Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563586)

Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun?

The one good thing that may come from that is the room for all HD channels with ALL THE EAST / WEST FEEDS.

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563680)

Don't give them any ideas....

But I am sure this will eventually happen as well, it is only a matter of time. After all we seem to be heading towards an inevitable time where we will have 1 mega-corp per service(s) as in some will control more than one. [cough]NBC/Comcast[/cough]

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563878)

And then Taco Bell buys all the other service-specific corporations.

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

JWyner (653364) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563982)

Followed by the unfreezing of Wesley Snipes?

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564052)

To assassinate Dennis Leary?

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563756)

Wow, are there still people using satellite!?

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563832)

It's ideal for TV. Much less bandwidth limitation than people think. 1000 channels on DirecTV, some of them on-demand, 3-D, 1080p, or interactive gaming. I only use my local cable company as an ISP any more.

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563844)

It's either that or dialup, in some parts of the USA.

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563876)

Yes. I do whatever I can to avoid giving money to the government enforced monopolies. The only thing I still have via copper is DSL, and I'd prefer to lose that.

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564178)

4 words.

N F L Ticket.

Re:Time for DISH and DIRECTV to join the fun? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563954)

As I recall, Charlie Ergen has been hot for DirectTV for a very long time, and has already tried to buy them out. The FCC stopped it back in 2002.

$39 BILLION!? (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563596)

Where was that $39 billion when it came to putting up and maintaining signal towers? Where was that $39 billion when it came to customer service? Where was that $39 billion when it came to the outlandishly expensive service?

All this money, and what does AT&T do with it? It's like a slap in the face for their own customers.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563648)

Where was that $39 billion when it came to putting up and maintaining signal towers? Where was that $39 billion when it came to customer service? Where was that $39 billion when it came to the outlandishly expensive service?

All this money, and what does AT&T do with it? It's like a slap in the face for their own customers.

Though I agree, I can't help but think about this one detail: Wouldn't they suddenly have all of TMobile's already-installed hardware?

Re:$39 BILLION!? (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563734)

They will suddenly have to maintain all of T-Mobile's hardware, but it won't do them that much good. AT&T's 3G and T-Mobile's 3G use different bands, and the vast majority of phones don't have the hardware to support both. At best, they could offload a little bit of 2G voice and EDGE traffic.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563978)

No, the phones have the hardware to support both. It's a radio chip running different firmware.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564176)

If that were true then they could just issue a firmware update to support different frequencies in different regions and carriers, yet this never happens even on handsets not sold via a carrier.

YAY FIVE MINUTE DELAY, GO SLASHDOT!

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564116)

that's cute, you think they will support t-mobile's handsets...

Re:$39 BILLION!? (3, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564076)

That's why a bunch of people think this merger happened. Supposedly it's about a 5-year process to get a new cell site approved by the FCC. (e.g. it's not about money, it's about paperwork delay).

The problem is: T-Mobile's 3G sites are all in the 1700 MHz band. No AT&T handset supports UMTS1700 to my knowledge, so AT&T phones won't be able to use the new tower assets for 3G. A cell site approval from the FCC is not based just on siting - it's licensed for a specific frequency and power level. So the T-Mo tower assets can't just be switched over to a different band.

There is a *slight* possibility it may be easier for AT&T to get an STA to change a tower to a new band than to build a new site though.

As to the negative effect this will have on equipment manufacturers (handset and network infrastructure) - Anyone claiming this will have a significant negative impact on those people is forgetting that there are more countries on this planet than the United States.

In terms of handsets - AT&T has already been in a situation of using bands not supported by any other carrier anywhere else in the world. Any phones for them had to be specially customized for them. Now, quad-band GSM has been common for a long time, but I have yet to see a UMTS handset that supported both the world frequencies and all of the US frequencies. T-Mobile was slightly fortunate in that unlike UMTS1900/UMTS850, some other countries did use UMTS1700. As a result, manufacturers could target more markets with a handset that supported UMTS1700/2100 than one that supported UMTS2100+the AT&T bands.

For network equipment providers - nothing changes. Previously you had equipment for AT&T and equipment for the rest of the world, this doesn't change. AT&T is still at a disadvantage of lacking the economies of scale the rest of the world can take advantage of.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (0)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563674)

Where was that $39 billion? In consumers' pockets.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (3, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563676)

Those wonderful 39 billion don't generate cash when put into more towers, customer service or anything that other wise improves the service they are providing. Where as spending 39 billions to take over a competitor and gain a mess load of new customers does. In short they don't care about anything besides the $$$$$ which shouldn't surprise you, considering they are a corporation and are by nature soulless evil things.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563830)

Corporations aren't evil. They're amoral. There's a subtle difference.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (4, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563914)

The company is amoral. The management are evil.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (5, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564000)

They are amoral, but allow evil deeds to flourish because the people doing the deeds know they will never be held accountable. Lack of personal accountability is the REAL evil of the corporations.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563932)

You are right, it is the evil actions of amoral corporations that need to be stopped.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564018)

Or as the wonderful Canadian documentary The Corporation [thecorporation.com] pointed out, if a corporation is legally a person, then it is a sociopathic person. It's not that they're actively trying to do bad things, it's just that they don't care if they do evil, so long as it benefits them.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

RedEars (1622495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564114)

I think you're searching for Lawful Evil bordering on Neutral Evil rather than amoral. So yes, still a flavor of evil. Know your D&D.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563864)

You don't think that there would have been more iPhones sold if the data coverage had been more than a Starbucks in Chelsea?

A loan from JP Morgan (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563800)

A loan from JP Morgan

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/g7vzu/why_the_hell_does_att_have_25_billion_in_cash/

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563834)

Don't forget that the caps they just put on DSL and their higher speed service. If this gets approved then we know that without a doubt that the Telco now own the government.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (2)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563866)

Where was that $39 billion when it came to putting up and maintaining signal towers? Where was that $39 billion when it came to customer service? Where was that $39 billion when it came to the outlandishly expensive service?

All this money, and what does AT&T do with it? It's like a slap in the face for their own customers.

Even though a lot of people like to pretend they are forced to do business with AT&T, they aren't. I live in a dead spot on their network, so I don't use them. It wasn't difficult.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564096)

It wasn't difficult for me either when the company now called AT&T was still called Cingular and they bought the real AT&T wireless. Moved to T-Mobile so that I wouldn't have to do business with them.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563870)

Silly boy. It's cheaper and more effective to spend $100 million on an ad campaign telling people how much better coverage is than spending $1 billion to make it actually better.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563974)

Well, they now have all of T-Mobile towers. Putting up towers is not just a matter of money. There are all these people who want cell signal, but do not want towers. So what can a mobile company do? Buy existing towers.

I do not care about the t-mobile thing because I never considered T-Mobile as a viable competitor. For the most part there are two main level competitors, ATT and Verizon. The choice depends on the service level and use. This will not be effected. Below these two was basically Sprint and T-Mobile. IMHO, if rates are going to effected it will be Sprint raising the rates no that T-Mobile is not longer in the market. Sprint will now dominate the market for people who are looking for less expensive service.

The reason that I think the T-Mobile deal might go through it that it will open up market opportunities for the value companies such as Boost and Cricket. A bunch of T-Mobile customers, who don't want to pay the rates of ATT or Verizon, and aren't well served by Sprint, may go to these other companies. The consumer will only be served by the growth of these value companies. I think Sprint is objective so vehemently because it knows it is going to get squeezed in this new market realities. I believe that Sprint has proven itself to be a firm who can compete. It is the only company that has survived and thrived from the long distance opening.

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564084)

It was sitting in the bank while the dollars rolled in...
(outlandishly expensive service) + (Apple worshipers) = $$$$$$$$$$

Re:$39 BILLION!? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564180)

Since MOST of that $39 billion is in shares, I don't think you can use shares to pay for towers

Anti-trust (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563602)

It'd be great if we had a real watchdog anti-trust group around here in the USA that could actually do something about these types of mergers.

Re:Anti-trust (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563784)

There is. The problem is that just because they CAN do something, doesn't mean that they WILL. AT&T has powerful lobbyists. There is also (unfortunately, in this case) a powerful anti-government movement in this country right now. They would prefer to let companies (especially large ones) do what they want.

Re:Anti-trust (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563926)

Indeed by a "real" group I meant one that "will" do something. I can't get to the EU fast enough...

But its good for Verizon and others (3, Interesting)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563610)

It is certainly bad for customers.

But its good for Verizon and others, because there are a lot of T-Mobile who are: "Anybody but AT&T".

Re:But its good for Verizon and others (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563796)

Not nearly enough of them to make a difference, in my opinion.

Re:But its good for Verizon and others (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564068)

We can hope, altho it's damning Verizon with faint praise. It becomes a GSM monopoly, further pushing Verizon out on an EDGE (pun intended) with LTE.

The duopoly that results (sorry, Sprint and Clearwire are dying) means that we'll have the fun of the Canadians, who deal with the Rogers- Bell Canada Conundrum. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.

What we really need is a technology to become the successor to GSM, CDMA, and LTE. Call it, 5G. We could bribe the ITU to lower the speed floor, and use visible light modulation for phone-- with mirrors.

Don't Like (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563620)

I have an unlocked phone so that I can actually change my provider if I want to. If AT&T merges with T-Mobile then my phone is locked to AT&T since it requires a sim card to function and I'm pretty sure Sprint and Verizon won't play nice with my phone.

Re:Don't Like (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563826)

T-mobile and AT&T phones don't play nice either though (different frequencies).

Deregulation (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563626)

Re:Deregulation (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563928)

Wow...just...wow. That first image is like a microcosm of our country's changed views on the market place. Reminds me of a matching graph from Discrete Math II.

Re:Deregulation (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563930)

It's not at all surprising that the former monopolists are the new monopolists. The inability to act in accordance with the spirit of the law is a mental disease.

What competition? (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563628)

There is no real competition in the US mobile market, only the illusion of competition.

Re:What competition? (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563658)

All the more reason to fight for everything we possibly can.

Re:What competition? (4, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563806)

This is the nature of all markets: the big ones buy up the smaller ones until there are only one or two big ones left. Occasionally they collapse and are replaced by others, but the diversity never really expands.
Deregulation and competition just doesn't work in the real world.

Re:What competition? (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564108)

You're overstating your case a bit.

Some markets do lend themselves to consolidation like this. If you were a hypothetical omnipotent and benevolent Grand Pooh-bah of the cell phone market right now, you could cut costs of cell service significantly by reducing things to a single carrier, and then sell the service at cost. But instead, we have profit-driven corporations, who want to cut the costs but keep the prices at their current higher (and thus inefficient) price.

Other markets don't consolidate as easily, which is why, say, plumbers aren't all working for a handful of big conglomerates.

Faster move to 4G (1)

tekgoblin (1675894) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563630)

The only thing I am hyped about is a faster transition to 4G. AT&T's network is crippled in major cities, with 4G and 3G network speeds should increase over time with the load being split across both spectrum's given people move to 4G. There are good things and bad things, I don't think AT&T will hike rates because they are still competing with other carriers just not GSM carriers in the US.

Even worse possibilities on the Horizon... (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563634)

Verizon will start looking to gobble up Sprint. Please somebody who knows more about this sort of thing tell me why this can't happen, because that would be f'n horrible. As far as why THIS merger is bad for consumers, well yea is there even one reason why it's GOOD for consumers?

Great news for both companies? (5, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563642)

AT&T shareholders just watched their management pay way too much for T-mobile. T-mobile and AT&T employees are both now extremely fearful for their jobs, as there is almost 100% overlap in most markets in everything but customer service call centers. This goes all the way up the management chains.

This is less like "joining forces" than conquering your neighbor by buying his mortgage from the bank for double the house's value, then throwing him and his kids and your wife out on the street.

Re:Great news for both companies? (2)

stickfigure (133284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563738)

But at least I upgrade from my boring old wife to his MILFtacular one. Everyone wins!

Re:Great news for both companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35564160)

then throwing him and his kids and your wife out on the street.

What was your wife doing there? :D

There's a reason I left AT&T. (2)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563656)

I had AT&T years ago; could never get a signal inside my house. I finally switched to T-Mobile; no problem getting a signal inside my house.

If I want GSM (so that my phone will work in the rest of the world when I travel (right?)) then I either have to have AT&T, T-Mobile, or one of the MVNOs that operate on their networks. I fear if AT&T dismantles the T-Mobile infrastructure that I'll be back to not getting any signal inside my house. Is my fear justified?

Re:There's a reason I left AT&T. (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564074)

I don't think they are going to reduce their infrastructure... however, I refuse to be an AT&T customer, my contract is up next month, so may be moving over to Verizon. T-Mobile's customer service has always been a lot better than my experiences with AT&T.

Re:There's a reason I left AT&T. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35564132)

They can't dismantle T-mobile's infrastructure until all of T-mobile's handsets are gone. They run on different frequencies so the more likely thing will be that they deploy combined next-generation technology (and sell phones that support it) while they keep the 2G network running along until all of the customers are gone.

Same thing happened with the old TDMA plans...you probably won't run into any issues until you want to upgrade to a phone or add features that would have required you to sign a new contract with t-mobile (at which point you will be transferred into a combined company contract on a new device that relies on new infrastructure that hopefully covers your home).

Misleading story (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563668)

Anyone reading this story might think that AT&T had bought T-Mobile, rather than just one of their operating companies in a foreign country a long, long way from their home market.

Re:Misleading story (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563716)

Misleading comment.

/. News Network (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563678)

A company practicing what amounts to price fixing pays the government to ignore the fact it will become even more of a monopoly is our top story tonight. This story and more at 11.

Re:/. News Network (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563888)

A company practicing what amounts to price fixing pays the government to ignore the fact it will become even more of a monopoly is our top story tonight. This story and more at 11.

Monopoly... I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Re:/. News Network (2)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563980)

If company A and company B (and Company C, etc) produce the same product with the same quality for the same price, and any changes are mirrored immediately, as if they planned it out beforehand, they are de facto a price fixing consortium, a type of monopoly.

Re:/. News Network (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564006)

You are claiming that there are no practical difference between the four major carriers, and that they are engaged in illegal price fixing?

Backwater, ho! (2)

saihung (19097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563772)

The USA is already a backwater for GSM service. I pay too much for AT&T, there is no competition on price or features, and now what little pathetic choice I have will be taken away. I don't want crappy proprietary technology, I want to be able to use real mobile phones that I can take with me anywhere in the world. Barring Japan and Korea, for some reason.

Re:Backwater, ho! (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564100)

If your handset works on HSPA+ (AT&T and T-Mobile's "4G") using the European bands, you can get full 3.5G service on both Softbank and NTT Docomo in Japan. I bet you can in Korea as well.

Suffice it to say, the US is virtually alone in being the fractured mobile backwater, as even in those Asian countries you can get good service.

Stating the obvious (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563774)

Let's see. You have four healthy players in a huge market. One buys out another to become the biggest. Now we have only three choices. Less choice leads to less competition. Less competition means they don't have to work as hard for our filthy lucre.

Thanks, captain obvious, for this insight. Stuff like this should be so obvious it could be used on a "voting permit application test" if we ever wanted to truly root out the potential voters so brain dead that they can't be trusted with the franchise...

Re:Stating the obvious (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563968)

I used to pass 7 different supermarkets on the way home from work.

Now I pass 5 stores with only 2 names on them. And they both carry the same crap off the same boat from Chile.

Tracfone (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563820)

I'm a Tracfone customer (it's the cheapest option by far for a basic phone with texting), and my current SIM card is locked into T Mobile, which has horrendous coverage in this area (Rochester, NY). My last Tracphone was locked into AT&T, which had very slightly better coverage in NY. Even Verizon has very poor coverage in a very large portion of NY. The only good thing I can see coming out of this acquisition is if AT&T combines T-Mobile's coverage with their own and my Tracphone can use both networks. Even then, I'll still be without coverage throughout a good portion of the state.

heres to hoping (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563838)

I sure hope AT&T will let me get 3G speeds on my Nexus S now. I'm stuck on EDGE. Lame.

Re:heres to hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35563904)

AT&T said that some time after the closing, it plans to rearrange how T-Mobile's cell towers work. The airwaves they use for third-generation services, or 3G, will be repurposed for 4G, which is faster.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134731140

This affects more than the customers (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563850)

As one of the nation's largest union employers, this bodes well for those who support unions [bizjournals.com] .

This also bodes well for those in the seciton of the Venn diagram who both hate unions [redstate.com] and think that AT&T sucks [facebook.com] . They have a brand new outlet to scream about how lazy union workers are responsible for AT&T's sucky network and poor customer service and are going to ruin the T Mobile experience.

Led Zepplin (4, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563874)

Go to the T-Mobile forum if you want to know how well this is flying with T-Mobile customers. [t-mobile.com]

The subject should give you an indication.

I explicitly chose NOT to have anything to do with AT&T and now I am forced into it. Does that sound like free capitalism to you??

Re:Led Zepplin (3, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564174)

Does that sound like free capitalism to you??

Yes. Capital is free; you are not.

Social relations are replaced by market relations so instead of each person having equal freedom intrinsic in his existence, money itself becomes a measure of the decisions a person is able to make. They've got billions of dollars and you probably have only a few thousand.
This is the meaning of freedom created by the marketplace.

Any chance for public input? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563910)

How do these acquisitions typically work? At any point, is there a chance for the public to register the concerns with the regulatory bodies?

I signed up with T-Mobile at the end of last year when I bought a Nexus S. T-Mobile has been great and I love that I can tether my laptop to my phone (or create a wifi hotspot) without having to pay an extra fee. AT&T is notorious for not allowing this and for having ridiculously low caps and I'm worried that once AT&T takes over, I'm going to lose this capability or have its usefulness seriously limited.

I would like to see the regulators require AT&T to set reasonable caps and eliminate tethering fees before allowing the deal to go through. Any way to voice this?

Full Circle (1)

CrispyZorro (1809948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35563948)

Eventually we we return to the '70s where Ma Bell gave us the choice between the beige phone and the black phone. The good news is that it will be prohibitively difficult to text and drive with a rotary dial handset.

Many T-Mobile 3G phones will end up bricked (2)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564046)

Because apparently AT&T wants to repurpose T-Mobile's 3G spectrum for 4G. Source: AP via Y! news [yahoo.com] .

why so much consumption may be bad for consumers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35564056)

not only are some of the consumables unhealthy/fatal to everyone, butt the usury mammon gained by infinitely insatiable ruling class, is used against us/life itself, except on allowed holidays.

No one looks at the real problem... (1, Insightful)

WatertonMan (550706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564088)

Let's see. Everyone yells at AT&T because they can't provide the coverage and bandwidth iPhone users need. AT&T tries to install more towers but ridiculous levels of regulation and red tape either limit their ability or make it take such a long time it's the same thing. AT&T sees a competitor with towers who is losing money and wants to sell. AT&T buys said competitor as the only way to provide the support customers demand.

Customers immediately become furious with AT&T rather than the ridiculous government regulations keeping AT&T from providing desired services and demand (wait for it) more government regulation to ensure we all have crappy coverage within the United States.

People then step in and blame all the problems not on too much regulation but on deregulation. (And yes, I agree it's not just an issue of deregulation or regulation but smart regulation - however let's be honest. How often do politicians pass laws with smart regulations?)

The real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35564122)

You know why AT&T didn’t want Sprint to buy T-Mobile? Because Sprint leases out towers to other carriers (i.e. CREDO and Virgin mobile). If Sprint bought T-Mobile, they would finally create an open GSM network with leased towers where everyone could swap SIM cards to switch between providers. Making competition totally viable and knocking AT&T off its rocker. But its stopped that, for now. And we wont have an open Euro/Asian/Latin GSM network for another few decades.

T-Mobile Open/Free Platform To Dissolve (1)

popsensation (1405041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564134)

If there was such a thing as an open service platform in the world of US - mobile it would be and always has been T-Mobile/Voicestream. In the US they have always offered and have been friendly to unlocked devices, unlimited internet, the first android, the first wifi-hotspot active phones. Their customer service is the only one I would consider worth calling or having. AT&T is closed in comparison and I've never heard someone tell me what a great service or customer service experience they have had with AT&T. We will lose in a lot of ways, but the loss of service and open platforms is the part that will hit me the hardest.

But T-Mobile was the *good* GSM service in the US! (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564142)

I've had both AT&T and T-Mobile in the Washington DC area. T-Mobile had less areal coverage, but when your phone had minimal signal, it typically kept it and didn't drop your call. AT&T has more bars in more places, but using those bars to make a phone call is always a crap shoot - you can have what looks like a strong signal and get kicked off anyway, or be unable to connect at all.

Much of this experience was before the iPhone - AT&T just got worse after that.

T-Mobile Girl (1)

kryliss (72493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35564150)

And I was really getting to like that hot T-Mobile Girl.

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