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Seven States Pile On To Block AT&T/T-Mobile Deal

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the writing-is-on-the-wall dept.

AT&T 152

An anonymous reader writes "New York, California, and five other U.S. states have joined a lawsuit initiated by the Department of Justice that would block AT&T's merger with T-Mobile. 'The revised filing comes ahead of a court hearing next week, when the two sides are scheduled to discuss the prospects of a settlement. AT&T has said that it will contest the Justice Department's lawsuit, while also seeking a potential settlement.' CNet notes that 'States don't have the power to block the deal, but they can influence the federal regulators and make it more onerous if AT&T attempts to negotiate for concessions to close the deal. They can also slow down the process with their own lawsuits.'"

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152 comments

Who do I write (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424626)

So who do I write to try and get my state to help block this as well? I assume my congressman but I don't think he actually gets my letters because if he does they must show up under spam. Perhaps I should lie to Rick Perry and say I'll vote for him if he supports this. I mean if politicians lie to me I can lie to them right?

Re:Who do I write (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424646)

Snail mail if you aren't sure about e-mail making it through the filter.

Re:Who do I write (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424738)

My snail mail doesn't end up being read either. Or at best, some intern skims over it just enough to press a button on the form letters I always get in return. I don't recall ever getting a letter back that actually addressed anything I said. Maybe the rep eventually gets a spreadsheet tally of [issue x]:[for|against]:[contributor|nobody].

But they do sometimes invite you to a constituents breakfast. So if you're likely to be in the right place at the right time, you might get a chance to bitch in a way that can't be completely ignored.

Re:Who do I write (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425616)

This article on writing letters to government ministers [crikey.com.au] was written with Australia in mind, but it contains some interesting tactics that might well be worthwhile for getting a decent response from US politicians, too.

Re:Who do I write (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425762)

Interesting. It seems obvious, but it never occurred to me to make sure the letter deals with more than one topic, to help prevent easy categorization for a single automated response.

And maybe I'll have my next letter sent from a lawyer-buddies office, so the letterhead will get some kind of attention.

Re:Who do I write (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426236)

Someone once said, to catch mice, make a noise like a cheese. In this case, it sure does work better to appear to be a potential campaign contributer. Just sayin'. This is from practical experience (and success).

Re:Who do I write (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426254)

Or just make up your own custom letterhead for a fictitious law firm.

Re:Who do I write (5, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425062)

I've worked with, for and among political offices. It's very well known in that biz that a written letter is much more effective than email, unless you're already an associate of the recipient.

Snail mail is always best for corresponding with politicians and officials with whom you don't already correspond regularly. They're more likely to have it handed to them, because they're mostly old and think email is for people who think for a living, not schmooze. And even if it's just a staffer who reads it (and maybe mentions it to the politico - or better yet, gets it to influence the work their office actually does among other staffers), a letter is better. Lawyers and other official correspondents use snail mail, sometimes as required by law or contract. And the people who write letters tend to be people who vote. Both because they tend to be older, and more office-oriented, and to be people who put actual time into the political process.

Re:Who do I write (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425644)

They're more likely to have it handed to them, because they're mostly old and think email is for people who think for a living, not schmooze.

It's so reassuring to know that the politicians don't even pretend to think.

Re:Who do I write (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426862)

They don't bother reading the bills they vote on either.

Re:Who do I write (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424684)

You should write your state attorney general [wikipedia.org] , that is the official who deals with this. You have [theoretical] power over the attorney general, since that office is usually elected.

BJs aplenty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424696)

Give your congressman a bj in an airport bathroom. He'll be far more receptive after that.

Re:BJs aplenty (1, Funny)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424758)

Give your congressman a bj in an airport bathroom. He'll be far more receptive after that.

I don't have the option. My congressman is a Democrat.

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424910)

For Republicans, you need to be a "discrete" 18 year old boy. For Democrats, hire a pudgy female prostitute.

Re:BJs aplenty (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425050)

For Republicans, you need to be a "discrete" 18 year old boy

That's siamese twins out, then.

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425094)

Who was the last Democratic congressmember to get caught with a prostitute - pudgy, female or otherwise?

Re:BJs aplenty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425158)

Eliot Spitzer comes to mind immediately. There was also that whole "DC Madam" thing a while back. Most recent I can think of for "sex scandal" and not specifically a prostitute is Anthony Weiner.

All Democrats, and all off the top of my head. I'm sure someone who puts effort into it can come up with a more recent scandal.

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425376)

Eliot Spitzer was never a member of congress. He was the Attorney General of New York and then the Governor.

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426824)

I'm sure he's not the most recent, but Barney Frank had a string of rent boys operating out of his apartment.

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425196)

For Republicans, you need to be a "discrete" 18 year old boy.

Republicans hate continuity?

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425364)

Introduce the notion of a continuum and you introduce a slippery slope from T/F and multiple-choice to essay questions.

*Shudders.*

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426286)

Or pose as a 20YO woman on Twitter who likes to get pictures of a politician's junk [wikipedia.org] .

Re:BJs aplenty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424922)

Give your congressman a bj in an airport bathroom. He'll be far more receptive after that.

I don't have the option. My congressman is a Democrat.

I have just the plan. Do this yourself if you are black, and if you're not black ask one of your black friends to do it (you DO have black friends, right?). Get the black person to ask them to stop this deal. If they hesitate to agree, try calling them a racist. After all, if you disagree with a black person on a political issue, it can only be because of racism.

Then you're speaking their language. Hey, it helped intimidate anyone who would dare disagree with Obama and saved him from having to provide substantive answers to his critics. This can be leveraged.

Re:BJs aplenty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424924)

It doesn't eliminate the option, it just widens the number of places that it's acceptable to give your congressman a bj.

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424950)

Give your congressman a bj in an airport bathroom. He'll be far more receptive after that.

I don't have the option. My congressman is a Democrat.

Well, in that case just go to his office to give him the BJ, or mail him a stack of $100 bills( he'll keep them in his freezer).

Re:BJs aplenty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425014)

Zing! Nice one :).

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425220)

Give your congressman a bj in an airport bathroom. He'll be far more receptive after that.

So much for the one size fits all solution. Some congressfolk are women!

Re:BJs aplenty (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426304)

Not many! [rutgers.edu]

Re:Who do I write (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424702)

I think the appropriate person to contact is your state's Attorney General

Re:Who do I write (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424852)

I know it's cool these days to be a functionally illiterate imbecile who speaks only one language and can't even manage to master it, but the correct relative pronoun for the objective case is "whom" in English.

You are likely to be American since they think a single language is too hard and cannot fathom the 2-4 languages many Europeans fluently speak. That means you're probably fat, too. Like all gluttonous fatasses, you think it's unreasonable that anyone would expect you to be able to control your own diet and exercise. It's McDonald's fault or it's HFCS or anything other than your own failure to control your own actions.

If you Yanks don't want the rest of the world to consider you a bunch of fat, stupid cowboy-wannabe neanderthals who can't even keep your own government from trying to regulate the entire planet, stop acting the part.

Re:Who do I write (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424926)

"whom" is dead. Even the textbooks admit that "who" is acceptable (even if not correct or recommended) for the objective case. We have a descriptive language, and as such, you are wrong.

Re:Who do I write (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425236)

"whom" is dead. Even the textbooks admit that "who" is acceptable (even if not correct or recommended) for the objective case. We have a descriptive language, and as such, you are wrong.

What you say is technically correct but you miss the point. Like most people who miss a good point that says a lot about our culture, you're suddenly concerned with some technical way to give a "pass". So be it.

The difference is actually useful. If you witness someone correctly using "whom", you can bet serious money that they are educated and actually read a book once in a while. The average person is intellectually lazy and can't understand why anyone would read a book without being forced to by a teacher, professor, or employer. This is particularly true of any book written above the 4th-grade reading level that newspapers and advertisers target.

Ergo, they say "hmm ... 'who' is listed as 'acceptable' so I'll never have to rub two brain cells together and really master my own native language. I found a way to avoid all those horrible milliseconds of thought. Cool." They probably also say things like "man, mediocrity and anti-intellectualism are wonderful, nothing is ever worth exploring or discovering or learning about after all, and I'm really fulfilled as a human being spiritually." Okay, so they never say that last one but they think that's a coincidence.

Anyway, the correct use of "whom" naturally tends to distinguish the thinking man from the sheep who need to be herded. The latter avoid learning and thinking as much as they can. They only do it if the cost of it is less than the consequence imposed by failing some external requirement. Even then, they do it reluctantly and only to the minimum degree necessary to appease the authority figure in question. Anyone who isn't part of this crowd stands out instantly.

Re:Who do I write (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425432)

If society followed that logic we'd still all be speaking Proto Indo European. Languages change, accept it.

Re:Who do I write (-1, Flamebait)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425656)

Language mastery is talking in a manner that effectively conveys the idea. Using "who" is preferred because only jackasses like you use whom, and only mentally ill people (OCD and such) actually correct someone for using something correctly. So, to convey the idea effectively and not look like a jackass, use "who" just like the millions of other native speakers do.

Re:Who do I write (2, Informative)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425796)

You're the one that looks like a jackass here.

Re:Who do I write (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37426298)

He can't help it. His brain is broken in such a way that he projects his own failings onto anyone he disagrees with. I think it is some sort of suppressed self-hatred going on. It is kind of a thing of beauty to see it in action, the lack of self-awareness can be breath-takingly sublime.

I'm not joking either, just go back and look through his posting history. It's pretty much all he ever does.

Re:Who do I write (0)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426444)

Correcting someone who is not wrong is being a jackass. Pointing out social convention only makes me a jackass to jackasses who need such basic social coaching.

Re:Who do I write (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425104)

English troll is talking about their own country.

Re:Who do I write (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425136)

Hmmm... I feel an ironic turning of tables coming... YES!

I know it's cool these days to be a ethnocentric European who believes themselves superior to all others and can't even manage to support themselves, but the correct method of attack for the generalization of groups you aren't part of is to not come off as insufferably arrogant.

You are likely to be European since they think other cultures are too hard and cannot fathom the 2-4 cultures many Americans fluently interact with. That means you're probably racist, too. Like all ignorant bigots, you think it's unreasonable that anyone would expect you to be able to control your own prejudices and assumptions. It's the other country's fault or it's China or anything other than your own failure to control your own actions.

If you Euros don't want the rest of the world to consider you a bunch of controlling, bigoted, imperialistic neanderthals who can't even keep your own government from trying to regulate the entire planet, stop acting the part.

Re:Who do I write (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424856)

> say I'll vote for him if he supports this

You'll give yourself away as a literate, thinking citizen, which is perhaps not his target demographic.

Re:Who do I write (2)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424878)

Normally, one would write to your state's Attorney General. Judging from your comment about Rick Perry, that would be Greg Abbott, the AG of Texas. He's already suing Google, so he might be OK with this.

Re:Who do I write (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424900)

Call his local office and find out when he'll be in the state. Then show up at his office. They try to never set anyone up to be able to say "I went to the Congressman's office, and he threw me out without seeing me." Also, if you are "writing" your congressman and fear a spam filter, you are doing it wrong. I did business in a building with congressional offices in it and rode the same elevator with Ted "tubes" Stevens once, so they do exist and do make it into their local offices at least occasionally.

Re:Who do I write (1)

cmv1087 (2426970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425044)

The line we need for anyone in government to do anything nowadays isn't "I'll vote for you if you do this", it's "I will give you more money than the other lobbyist." This is especially true for Rick Perry.

Re:Who do I write (1)

tgeek (941867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425278)

So who do I write to try and get my state to help block this as well? I assume my congressman but I don't think he actually gets my letters because if he does they must show up under spam. Perhaps I should lie to Rick Perry and say I'll vote for him if he supports this. I mean if politicians lie to me I can lie to them right?

Good luck getting Rick Perry or any other elected official in Texas (most properly the AG) to file a suit against a company headquartered in Dallas.

Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424706)

I'm a current T-Mobile customer and I want nothing to do with AT&T.

I would have to cancel my account if this merger goes through and I don't know what I would do because T-Mobile has the best prepaid plans of any carrier. I'm positive AT&T will screw that up if they were to take over.

Re:Good (1)

blargster (239820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425070)

T-Mobile would be worse off without a merger since they are treading water as it is. They have no ability to invest in LTE deployment.

DT is dropping them and there will likely be no T-Mobile.

If the DOJ blocks the AT&T merger with them, they sure as hell won't allow Sprint to buy them on the very same grounds regarding reducing competition, etc.

Re:Good (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425176)

Sprint is much smaller than AT&T and probably would be allowed to buy T-mobile. T-mobile does make money, plus it will get free spectrum and favorable terms on roaming agreements if the deal falls through.

Re:Good (1)

blargster (239820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425258)

My point was that there would be only three major carriers in either case. That is the DOJ's objection.

Sizes of the companies is irrelevant.

Re:Good (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425180)

Sprint and T-mobile use different technologies and have different market shares. AT&T has a huge chunk of the market which would make a merger between them and T-Mobile bad for the market on a competition level. However if sprint and t-mobile were allowed to merge then it would allow the new company to actually compete in the market with the two big hitters AT&T and VZW. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a good idea, I just see how it's feasible.

Re:Good (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426554)

> Sprint and T-mobile use different technologies and have different market shares.

Believe it or not, the difference is more one of business policy than actual technology. As a practical matter, any phone built like the Motorola Photon could easily work on Sprint and T-Mobile (it can't now, because Sprint had the UMTS radio specifically created to block use of AT&T and T-Mobile). With the next version of the baseband chipset, it could probably even do HSPA+ ("4G on T-Mobile") as well.

If Sprint bought T-Mobile, the first thing they'd do is require all new high-end phones -- Sprint AND T-mobile -- to be like the Photon & able to do CDMA2000, UMTS, GSM, and wimax. After a year or two, they'd start repurposing some of their 1900MHz "Sprint" spectrum to UMTS uplinks, and pair it with chunks of T-Mobile's 2100MHz UMTS downlink spectrum. It wouldn't break a single T-Mobile phone, because they can all do 1900/2100MHz UMTS as easily as they can do 1700/2100MHz UMTS anyway.

Sprint would keep circuit-switched CDMA voice, but start phasing out EVDO in favor of UMTS for data, just like Telus did in Canada (except Telus skipped EVDO and went straight to UMTS). After 3-4 years, when all their high-end users were solidly migrated to phones capable of UMTS data, they'd probably shut down EVDO entirely in markets with tight 1900MHz spectrum (like San Diego) and only provide 1xRTT to the few remaining users who couldn't use UMTS (1xRTT can coexist alongside CDMA voice and dynamically share channel space with it, whereas UMTS needs dedicated spectrum). I believe this is what CDMA carriers in India have done as they've migrated users from EVDO to UMTS for data.

5-10 years down the line, the distinction between "Sprint" and "T-Mobile" would be academic. The towers would all be shared. Sprint would use a chunk of 1900MHz spectrum for legacy GSM voice & 2(.5)-G data (GPRS and EDGE), another chunk of 1900MHz spectrum for circuit-switched CDMA voice and 1xRTT data, and a third chunk of 1900MHz paired with T-Mobile's 2100MHz for 1900/2100MHz UMTS. They'd probably pair a fourth chunk of 1900MHz with their ~850MHz Nextel spectrum for premium UMTS (850 uplink, 1900 downlink), and use their 1700MHz spectrum for LTE. In the meantime, Sprint and T-Mobile customers with new phones would both get to suffer with Sprint's crap 4G service ("crap", because it doesn't work in moving vehicles due to the way Clear fucked up their tower-tower hand-offs... or more precisely, didn't bother to implement at all, so they all act like wifi access points with ~1km range instead of a real cellular network; instead of handing off gracefully, Sprint 4G just drops the connection and leaves you with no network connectivity for 10+ seconds while it handshakes with the next tower and gets a different IP address).

Anyway, the point is that there IS a graceful way to merge Sprint and T-Mobile's networks. That said, if Sprint and T-Mobile were to "merge", I'd only want it to happen if the Justice Department made them:

1. sell all their tower assets to TowerCo (the company Sprint created to own its towers), to maximize their availability for lease on open terms to competing networks

2. create a new company to handle everything RF-related. In other words, own the spectrum leases and run the CDMA2000, GSM, UMTS, and LTE radio services. Let's call this "RFco", and view them as the equivalent of an RBOC.

3. keep "Sprint" and "T-Mobile" as separate companies who provide their own data backhaul & provide actual PSTN connectivity, sell phones (but require Sprint to fully support USIMs, require both companies to allow the use of any hardware that's physically compatible, and publish their standards and protocols in open format to allow end users to implement them on their own hardware as desired).

In other words, Let's suppose you're a "Sprint" customer. You might (or might not) buy your phone from them, but it has a USIM (which works on everything from UMTS to CDMA), so Sprint can't lock you into their own proprietary hardware. Ditto, for T-Mobile. Sprint and T-Mobile provide their own connectivity to each tower (laying their own fiber, leasing their own lines from the local RBOC, or maybe paying TowerCo to let them mount their own microwave backhaul antennas on the same towers). In places like the Nevada desert, West Virginia, Wyoming, etc, they'd be free to negotiate sharing backhaul connectivity to rural tower sites that don't generate enough use to merit independent backhaul. Both Sprint and T-Mobile do their own dial termination (connecting their wireless users to the PSTN) and do their own data service, just like they do now. The only real difference is that they both deal with RFco at arm's length, and there's nothing to stop RFco from treating MetroPCS, Leap, US Cellular, and/or anyone else as the equal peer of both Sprint and T-Mobile.

Neither AT&T nor Verizon would ever be allowed to own shares in TowerCo or RFco, nor would either be allowed to merge with them or each other. They could cooperate with TowerCo to share tower sites (and in fact, would be encouraged to do so), and could outsource operations to RFco with the FCC's approval in areas where they decided it would be cheaper to just pay RFco to provide service than to do it themselves. The idea is that in a place like Miami or New York, there would always be at least three companies operating mobile networks, and at least one of them would be a totally open and neutral service provider with at least two or three customers who use their RF infrastructure to provide actual service to customers.

The idea is that RFco would own roughly 1/3 of the US cellular market, like AT&T and Verizon, but unlike AT&T and Verizon, would never be allowed to become a vertically-integrated proprietary network. It would be the cellular equivalent of an RBOC, required by law to make its wholesale services available to all comers on equal and open terms. The RFco-Sprint/T-Mobile juggernaut would be inherently balkanized, but would own something AT&T and Verizon could never have: prime 1900/2100MHz international UMTS frequency pairs. Likewise, AT&T and Verizon would both own lots of UHF spectrum in the 700-850MHz range that RFco could never have (besides the sliver it inherited from Nextel). RFco would have more spectrum than it knew what to do with and bandwidth to literally burn, but AT&T and Verizon would have better indoor penetration and skyscraper coverage. AT&T would own more RBOC infrastructure than Verizon, but Verizon owns more fiber than it knows what to do with (inherited from MCI, inherited from Worldcom).

Re:Good (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425284)

T-Mobile would be worse off without a merger since they are treading water as it is.

Rejection by regulators would leave AT&T liable to pay Deutsche Telekom $3 billion in cash, to give T-Mobile USA wireless spectrum, and to reduce charges for calls into AT&T’s network, a package valued at as much as $7 billion, Deutsche Telekom has said. [bloomberg.com]

So actually T-Mobile will win a big concession if this falls through.

Re:Good (2)

stalky14 (574130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425780)

LTE is great but unnecessary for most phone transactions.

What we really need in this country is not so much faster speeds, but more reasonable prices and terms on what we already have! So far those that are going LTE have capped their data and raised their rates (Verizon & AT&T).

If T-Mobile bothered to market themselves on a low price/liberal terms angle they would have to fight the new customers off with a stick and could get by with HSPA+ for 3 more years! That's the reason those of us that like T-Mobile are with them in the first place.

Serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424762)

What is going to happen to T-Mobile if AT&T doesn't buy them? Their parent company, Deutsche Telekom, has stated they no longer wish to own and run T-Mobile and aren't going to invest any more money in them.

Could they just shut down the company and sell of the spectrum? What else could happen?

Re:Serious question (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424812)

How about split it off and run it solo... That said, have you considered that DT might be interested in having T-Mobile purchased for the terms AT&T offered and is willing to make statements in support of the transaction?

Re:Serious question (1)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425304)

How about split it off and run it solo... That said, have you considered that DT might be interested in having T-Mobile purchased for the terms AT&T offered and is willing to make statements in support of the transaction?

What?! Perish the thought!

You can tell someone "you know, there are street criminals who would actually shoot someone for the $50 in their wallet" and they will readily believe you. Despite that, everyone knows that businessmen would never, ever use deception when millions of dollars are at stake. I mean, for fuck's sake, they wear suits. No one who dresses nicely would do bad things. You're a paranoid raving lunatic tin-foil hatter if you don't agree.

Serious answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37424828)

They'd find another buyer - maybe even a leveraged buyout by senior management or it's employees.

They could also spin it off into it's own company.

There's way too many assets there to just let the company wither and die.

They will never just shut it down (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425152)

They'll sell it.. to somebody.. but somebody's not going to get what they want.

Re:Serious question (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425300)

They'll get $3 billion in cash, free wireless spectrum and reduced charges for calls that goes over AT&T's network.

I hope they block it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424764)

but if they don't, they should give the T-Mobile customer the ability to cancel/change their contract with no penalty or fees.. I sure as hell didn't avoindf AT&T and become a T-Mobile customer just to end up an AT&T customer.

Re:I hope they block it (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424778)

Change it to what exactly? The whole point is that the merger would reduce and in some cases eliminate consumer choice in celular carriers.

Re:I hope they block it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424938)

Change it to another company, where available. Is there anywhere that ONLY has T-Mobile and AT&T? I could at least got to sprint.

Re:I hope they block it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425344)

Is there anywhere that ONLY has T-Mobile and AT&T?

The entire U.S. if you want to keep using your existing (GSM) phone.

Re:I hope they block it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37426052)

There likely are many spots where you don't get a usable signal from Sprint and you do from one or both of AT&T and T-Mobile (and likewise the other way around), but the percentage of people who actually live in one of those spots is quite small.

More to the point, I have upwards of a k$ original cost (maybe $400-$700 replacement cost) of GSM equipment that's so many paperweights on a CDMA-family network. (Particularly painful to me, that includes an N900, and there is no CDMA equivalent (i.e. Maemo device) -- though I'm aware that's a niche case that won't and shouldn't have appreciable impact on the big picture, when most people pick from a half-dozen more-or-less equivalent Android phones.)

Re:I hope they block it (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424916)

I'm assuming consumer interests will not be served and AT&T will be allowed to proceed after greasing a few palms. With this in mind does anyone have any recommendations as to which carrier to switch off to and why?

Re:I hope they block it (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425200)

If this goes through, the only viable alternative is VZW because they will be the only real competition AT&T-mobile will have in the market.

This is a no-brainer (2, Insightful)

laing (303349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424876)

AT&T and T-Mobile are the only two GSM providers remaining in the USA. The other competitors (Verizon and Sprint) use CDMA technology that uses different frequencies and different modulation schemes. GSM is a more popular format worldwide because it is not patent-encumbered. CDMA phones typically lag in technology by several years. A USA monopoly on GSM is not in the best interests of anybody but the monopoly holder. This is why they are willing to pay 10 times more for T-Mobile than they would spend to upgrade their 4G network to full coverage.

As much as I detest government interference in business, I hope that these anti-trust lawsuits are successful. This is exactly the sort of thing that the anti-trust laws were intended to prevent. Given the resources ($$$) of AT&T, I expect strong lobbying and eventual approval of the deal.

JSL

Re:This is a no-brainer (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37424998)

The other competitors (Verizon and Sprint) use CDMA technology that uses different frequencies and different modulation schemes. GSM is a more popular format worldwide because it is not patent-encumbered. CDMA phones typically lag in technology by several years.

Which is why I have a CDMA Samsung Galaxy S2 from Sprint a month or so after the international launch and before AT&T and TMobile offer it. .

Also, Verizon and Sprint run on the same CDMA frequencies and have a bilateral roaming agreement. And CDMA is a more efficient modulation, allowing more users per MHz of bandwidth than any other technology.

Re:This is a no-brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425016)

CDMA doesn't allow data and voice at the same time. That is enough to keep me away.

Re:This is a no-brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425210)

Ah, yes, because when I'm talking with someone on my phone, what I really want to do is ignore them and check my email.

What a useless feature.

Re:This is a no-brainer (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425308)

Or you could be talking to someone and be looking up something relevant to your phone call.

Re:This is a no-brainer (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425934)

I bluetooth calls in my car while using my phone as a GPS. The maps download on the fly, as well as traffic info, etc.

It is in no way a useless feature.

Re:This is a no-brainer (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426134)

I do the same thing... on CDMA. I have no idea what the fuck you guys are talking about for this "no voice and data at the same time" garbage.

Its a technical limitation, sort of. All it actually requires is that the phone be set up to be able to handle two connections. Not a big deal on an Android device, or any current-gen smartphone for that matter.

Everything is CDMA now, including GSM (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425084)

Which is why I have a CDMA Samsung Galaxy S2 from Sprint a month or so after the international launch and before AT&T and TMobile offer it. .

Also, Verizon and Sprint run on the same CDMA frequencies and have a bilateral roaming agreement. And CDMA is a more efficient modulation, allowing more users per MHz of bandwidth than any other technology.

True with 2G but GSM 3G uses Wide Band CDMA so the special efficiency is essentially the same.

Re:This is a no-brainer (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425006)

GSM is a more popular format worldwide because it is not patent-encumbered.

Really? I find it hard to believe that GSM is not patent encumbered. My impression was that the lack of being hard-tied to a device was what made it so popular in Europe (what with their quaint notion of Consumer Rights) and it spread from there (and has grown by inertia to everywhere CDMA is as well.)

Re:This is a no-brainer (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425230)

And the underlying multiplexing has changed from TDMA to CDMA anyway. Time division multiplex was a stupid idea from the beginning.

Re:This is a no-brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37426762)

China says otherwise. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TD-SCDMA

What the original AT&T Wireless switched to was GSM and called it "2.5G" or "3G" depending on who you talked to. Cingular had exactly the same, when Cingular bought AT&T Wireless there was whole hell breaking loose because Cingular unlocks their phones and AT&T Wireless does not. Everyone on AT&T Wireless who wanted Cingular plans had to get a new phone.

This will be a repeat should it go through.

Cingular is also a lot more anti-consumer than the original AT&T Wireless. The original AT&T Wireless you had the option of your bills being rerated if you asked nicely. The post-Cingular AT&T Wireless will not. On the other hand, The eWallet (SMS short code billing) was such a fuckup on AT&T Wireless's side that 99% of the customer service staff did not know how to handle calls dealing with it. This is why the Telco's need to stay the hell out of being a payment processor, they fucked up enough to begin with 10 years ago and we're no better now then we were then.

Should AT&T buy T-Mobile, the first thing you'll see happen, based on what happened before, is that the Unlimited plans get axed, not grandfathered. If you're on them, you'll be told to switch to a new plan in 30 days or your data plan will be canceled and ETF waived.
Next, if you want to upgrade your phone, you will be forced to buy a new phone (particularly if you want the iPhone) on a new 2 or 3 year contract.

Should you want to port your number over to Verizon, you'll have to buy a new phone because very few models support both GSM/UMTS/HSPDA and Verizon's antique CDMA2000/1X network. You're better off waiting for everyone to be running LTE. That could still be 2 years off. By then they'll have solved the power problems in the LTE chipsets for mobile devices. In theory anyway. Even the Canadians knew CDMA2000 was a dead-end technology and they all jump-shipped for GSM at the 2010 Olympics because they didn't want to be left behind and the cell carrier that was the official sponsor has ZERO towers in Vancouver (They partner with Telus, so they're all Telus towers.)

The relationship between Telus and Bell in Canada is not unlike AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. Their coverage maps are made up of towers that both carriers have. So they (AT&T and T-Mobile) effectively have been one carrier since the advent of the Digital One Rate plan. If you weren't on that plan (or "the National plan") you were charged roaming fees every time you used T-Mobile or Cingular's towers. So buying T-Mobile would make their coverage area effectively complete, and save some roaming costs, but it's a drop in the lake. Verizon buying Sprint would do the same for Verizon, though Sprint is a mishmash of 3 or so technologies in addition to CDMA, as they have legacy Nextel, Clearwire and Lightsquared.

If you had told me in 2004 that AT&T Wireless, Cingular, and T-Mobile would merge, I'd have laughed, as part of the difficulty in selling plans to people was that they wanted Cingular's roll-over minutes or T-Mobile's devices and unlimited plans. AT&T had nothing to compete with this. You have to wonder how much spectrum was divested in the mergers. What is the point of 3 mobile carriers being merged when you have to divest one carrier's worth of spectrum to the competitors?

Re:This is a no-brainer (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425356)

GSM is a more popular format worldwide because it is not patent-encumbered.

So it's not patent encumbered but Nokia sued Apple over GSM patents [slashdot.org] ? Oh and this lack of patents was why Qualcomm Sued Nokia over GSM patents in 2005 as well, right? [eweek.com] Are you an idiot, or what?

Re:This is a no-brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425380)

AT&T and T-Mobile are the only two GSM providers remaining in the USA. The other competitors (Verizon and Sprint) use CDMA technology that uses different frequencies and different modulation schemes.

GSM in the Americas uses different frequencies (850Mhz and 1900Mhz) than the rest of the world (900Mhz and 1800Mhz). GSM phones purchased in the US do not work overseas unless they are labeled "quad band" or "world phone".

CDMA phones typically lag in technology by several years.

4G is a CDMA technology.

You can also buy world phones from any US carrier, even Verizon and Sprint. There is no functional difference or advantage in going with a US GSM carrier over a CDMA one. You need to take the exact same precautions of making sure your phone is compatible with overseas networks and you can buy such phones from any US carrier.

Re:This is a no-brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37426356)

Are you really that un-informed? Everything your wrote was an old man rambling for the sake of rambling.

Where was the love? (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425032)

Where was the love for T-Mobile before the merger or even since? Customers a leaving in droves. They lost 280,000 net subscribers last quarter. I bet most of these people saying that they don't want the merger to go through aren't even T-Mobile customers or never plan to be. It's the economics that are putting T-Mobile out of business. DT is just trying to get out now before the only option they have left is to part it out. So, unless you're a T-Mobile customer, please quit whining against the merger.

Re:Where was the love? (4, Insightful)

tgeek (941867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425130)

It's perfectly valid for anybody - T-Mobile customer or not - to argue against the formation of a monopoly. It's won't be easy to stop this one before it forms. But if it is allowed to form, it will be virtually impossible to fix later.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425338)

First, it won't form a monopoly. There will be 2 other major carriers besides AT&T. Second, yes, anybody can argue against the merger, but all it does is put off the inevitable. Hell, I bet in a ways AT&T might even hope it gets blocked. Then, they could just buy the spectrum at firesale prices. But, either way, just the announcement of the merger sealed T-Mobile's fate. At least with the merger, the employees have a chance at a job. If DT piece-meals out the assets, then nobody at T-Mobile will have a job, and there will still just be 3 major carriers.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

tgeek (941867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425456)

After the inevitable, as you put it, merger goes thru go find some GSM service not controlled by AT&T and then come back and tell us they don't have a monopoly.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425890)

I see your point, and Apple has a monopoly over iOS. Of course, I could buy a Windows or Linux computer.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426022)

That's the point: in order to keep the same level of wireless service and customer service that you currently have, you'll have to re-buy hardware.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425484)

First, it won't form a monopoly.

So what other GSM provider is there for someone to switch to who doesn't want to be forced to be an AT&T customer or to have to buy a brand new phone?

Re:Where was the love? (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425826)

Is GSM really that important? AT&T quit using the same frequencies after EDGE/2G. So, if you don't mind turtle-like data speeds when using the same phone on the other's network, then it's really a moot point. More than likely, if somebody switches carriers, they're going to get a new phone that works on all of their new carrier's frequencies anyways, whether or not they're GSM or CDMA.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426316)

Is GSM really that important?

Considering my Samsung Vibrant only works on GSM, yes, it is important.

AT&T quit using the same frequencies after EDGE/2G.

Great, so I can get gimped speeds after being forced to become an AT&T customer? AWESOME!

So, if you don't mind turtle-like data speeds when using the same phone on the other's network, then it's really a moot point.

Yes, I do mind since I use 3G all the time so, no, it's not moot.

More than likely, if somebody switches carriers, they're going to get a new phone that works on all of their new carrier's frequencies anyways, whether or not they're GSM or CDMA.

That's the whole point: I DON'T WANT TO SWITCH CARRIERS. Nor do I want to have to buy another phone. I only just bought my Vibrant 10 months ago and I don't think I should have to choose between a shitty company who is going to give me shittier service at a higher price or having to spend another $300-$400 to get a comparable phone on another network.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

jnork (1307843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425368)

I'm a T-Mobile customer and I'm whining against the merger.

a) I've been pretty satisfied with their customer service over the years. I've never heard anything good about AT&T's customer service (except from AT&T employees of course). None of my own experiences with AT&T have been particularly good.
b) We need more competition, not less.

And I happen to think that b) is just as valid a reason to whine as a). So please -- if you're not a T-Mobile customer, feel free to whine against the merger all you want.

Thank you.

Re:Where was the love? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425520)

Have you considered that they are leaving BECAUSE of the merger? Who wants a 2 year contract with a company that is destine to be sold to someone you don't want to do business with? The 280,000 lost customers isn't a sign that people don't like T-Mobile. It is a sign that people don't like AT&T

Re:Where was the love? (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425800)

Yes, they were 318,000 in Q4 2010 - before the announcement of the merger.

Does It Matter Anymore? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425170)

Not to be baiting the flame, but does it matter if this merger gets blocked anymore for us T-mobile customers? I realize the merger has not gone through officially, but something has happened on T-mobile's end already that has turned the provider to shit.

Prior to the merger announcement way back when, I could access T-mobile's website and easily find a few different customer service numbers that would connect me to operatives almost immediately. There was even one number specially reserved for existing customers that would connect me to operators who were specifically trained to keep me as a customer and treat me with respect and dginity. Nowadays I have a hard time even finding a basic T-mobile customer service number on their website. I cannot connect to the existing-customers-only help line anymore. And when I do connect to regular customer service, I am met with someone who hardly speaks any English, and cannot listen long enough to think their way out of a paper bag, much less properly address any issue I may have.

Prior to the deal T-mobile would offer no-contract plans, and would work with existing customers to cut them a deal on their grandfathered plans that made them competitive with new or monthly plan specials. Nowadays if I try to ask for anything outside of the pre-packaged 2 year contract plans offered on T-mobile's website, I am told that T-mobile, "just can't do that." Even if I explain I plan to leave the company they act like they don't care.

Prior to the merger announcement, T-mobile's network was not everywhere, but where I could get T-mobile signal, I would get a strong, steady connection that would always maintain a call. Ever since the merger announcement, all I can pick up (even from the same locations prior) are AT&T towers. I may get more AT&T signal now, but my call gets dropped every 40 minutes or so. It happens so commonly I could almost set my watch by it.

So merger or not, does it matter? I don't know if other T-mobile customers have experienced these same types of things, but from what I can tell T-mobile is letting itself go to hell with or without AT&T. Would these degradations in service be reversed if, all of the sudden, the merger was blocked? Tha;'s an honest question. Does T-mobile care enough anymore to treat its customers with the respect it used to? The message I am steadily recieving from them is a big, fat, clear, "No!"

Re:Does It Matter Anymore? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 2 years ago | (#37425262)

I haven't seen any of these problems. TMO in the Seattle the area is still fast and reliable, and I have more coverage (first-party, not roaming) than I did last year. The month-to-month plans are harder to find now, but they still exist. I've only had to call support once, but it was easy. The response was quick, the guy spoke English with an American accent, and he fixed one problem immediately and helped find the cause of the other.

I'm going to be very upset if TMO-US no longer exists independently when my contract is up. (I was going to go contract-free, but a discount from my employer that only applied to contract plans made the two-year plan the cheapest option all up.)

Re:Does It Matter Anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425540)

It is not a secret that Deutscher Telecom has been trying to get read of its T-Mobile American subsidiary for quite some time. That explains their lack of investment into T-Mobile and search for a buyer.

Re:Does It Matter Anymore? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426386)

I just noticed a new 3G area lit up this afternoon, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Anecdotal I know, but they have been upgrading their network for some time now.

YOUd FAIL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37425274)

inVited baCk again. The developer

Where are you, Colorado? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426392)

With 2 call centers at risk, you would think CO would be all over this. Time to get involved...

So who do I write if I want the merger to go... (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37426632)

As a T-Mobile customer who hates T-Mobile, but refuses to go to Sprint (their coverage sucks), Verizon (too damm expensive), and both of these providers use CDMA, (I want a phone I can take overseas if I travel). So I personally would LOVE to have AT&T take over T-Mobile, if for nothing else then the added phone selection that I will be able to access.

Look, Deutsche Telekom is not going to invest any more money into T-Mobile, so someone will have to buy it, AT&T is as good a choice as any.

I'm in a congress so to speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37426764)

and already am smelling the cocaine, hookers, and $100 bills :)

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