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AT&T Buys T-Mobile: Good For Anyone?

Posted by Alan at 1:52 PM on March 20, 2011

A few hours ago the news broke that AT&T has agreed to purchase rival mobile carrier T-Mobile for $39 billion.  As that news sinks in the big question becomes – is it good for consumers?  AT&T says that the U.S. wireless industry is “one of the most fiercely competitive in the world, and will remain so after this deal.”

I tend to feel otherwise.  After all, has anyone noticed the pricing plans seem to be a bit similar?  Has anyone noticed the ridiculous pricing of text messages?  I am not accusing them of collusion, but if forced, I could make that argument.

So now, years after breakup of Ma Bell, the telco’s have moved another step closer to regaining that old “one company to rule them all” feel.  AT&T, however, would like you to think otherwise.  In their press release they lead one to beleive this is about infrastructure and moving their network closer to 4G.  That makes sense because AT&T has gained a notoriously bad reputation in recent years due to connectivity issues, mainly with iPhone users.

So what does everyone think?  Will this be good for consumers because it will bolster the under-powered AT&T network?  Will it be bad for consumers because it takes away another option for those shopping for a wireless plan?  I tend towards the latter, but if you feel differently then let us know in the comments.

6 Comments

  1. From John at 2:37 pm on March 20, 2011

    Bad for Google, Android, HTC, Motorla and other hardware makers… most likely bad for Sprint, possibly bad for consumers.

    Only positive could be AT&T users who will ultimately get better coverage and a 4G network much quicker than before.

    iPhone users on AT&T may benefit the most of all….

  2. From Brandon at 3:53 pm on March 20, 2011

    IPHONE Users will only Benefit from MORE COVERAGE!! I had a HACKED IPHONE ON TMOBILE…. Tmobile and ATT Use Different Spectrum for 3G… Once ATT Opens up both Networks/Rebrands all TMOBILE Towers to ATT, the IPHONES will ONLY get 3G on Native ATT Towers…. Unless ATT has a trick up there sleeve to get both networks on the same page with there 3G/4G, and all new PHONES with ATT will need to support both 3G bandwiths if they do not integrate it

  3. From johhny bravo at 5:22 pm on March 20, 2011

    Didn’t at&t just announce data caps on home internet the other day?? The assault on our pocket books continues looks like its a good time to switch to sprint…..

  4. From teemark at 10:16 pm on March 20, 2011

    Good for the two Telcos involved I guess. Every time these companies grow through swallowing up their competitors, their service gets worse, and their rates get higher. I don’t expect anything different this time, and of course I don’t expect out spineless politicians to do anything besides rubber-stamp this while they accept some more campaign contributions from AT&T.

  5. From susabelle at 8:56 am on March 21, 2011

    Bad for consumers. The fewer choices we have, the more they can charge for whatever crappy service they want to offer us. Like the Walmart machine, the more local groceries that are put out of business, the better it is for Walmart. They can, at some point, charge whatever they want for groceries when the y are the only game in town.

    I see the same for wireless. I have ATT, but no iPhone, and my service is adequate, if overpriced, but the truth is, once you’re locked into a contract, especially one with multiple lines/phones all with differing expiration dates over a two-year cycle, you’re locked. It would cost me a fortune to switch carriers – new phones would have to be purchased, contracts bought out from ATT, and new contracts paid for with a new carrier. I feel truly stuck.

    I was a Cingular customer (remember them??) before they were swallowed up by AT&T. I miss those days…Cingular never did me wrong.

  6. From Manny at 9:35 am on March 22, 2011

    People that lament the old Cingular make me laugh. Cingular was a joint venture of Bellsouth and SBC. SBC bought AT&T and changed their name (and logo) to the NEW AT&T. They then bought Bellsouth, giving SBC 100% ownership of Cingular and they changed the name to AT&T.

    So, Cingular never once changes ownership…..just the name. What effected customer care and network performance was their explosive growth. Why? Because they had the best phones and GSM is superior to CDMA (Verizon’s technology) especially when it comes to data speeds and simultaneous voice/data usage.

    T has spent billions correcting this growth problem and this is just another step. You can jump up and down screaming, like Rumpelstiltskin and it will not change a thing. And things will get better, even the pricing for most consumers.