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FCC questions AT&T over proposed T-Mobile purchase

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has submitted a request for information from AT&T with 50 questions regarding the company's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

In March, AT&T and T-Mobile USA parent company Deutsche Telekom announced plans for AT&T to acquire the rival carrier in a cash and stock deal worth roughly $39 billion. Given that the completed deal would give AT&T a wide margin as the leading wireless carrier with an estimated 130 million users, federal regulators have launched investigations into the merger.

MacNN reported Friday that the FCC filed the questions with regard to "how AT&T's wireless spectrum is being used, the nature of its overall network and why it believed it needed T-Mobile's spectrum to meet its goals for 4G." Officials were also interested in alternative solutions to purchasing T-Mobile that AT&T had considered.

The FCC requested information on AT&T's long-term pricing plans to address concerns that AT&T would leverage its post-merger size to raise rates. AT&T's answers will be kept under wraps during the FCC investigation, as officials "aren't supposed to publicly discuss proceedings until the vote itself," according to the report.

Shortly after the deal was announced, one anonymous FCC official said off the record that AT&T faces a "steep climb" in convincing the commission's chairman to approve the deal.

AT&T remains confident in its chances of getting the merger approved. "We understand that Congress, the DOJ, the FCC, as well as wireless consumers will have questions about the transaction. We look forward to answering and addressing those questions," said a spokesman. "We are confident that the facts will demonstrate that the deal is in the public interest and that competition will continue to flourish."

T-Mobile has warned that federal approval for the acquisition could take up to a year.

The Department of Justice has initiated its own investigation and isn't obligated to share information during its proceedings. The DOJ has reportedly deepened its probe into the acquisition.

Earlier this month, executives from AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint testified at a Senate hearing regarding the deal. Senators expressed concern that the merger would create a duopoly, hurting competitors and consumers. After the CEOs from AT&T and T-Mobile hedged whether their companies were direct competitors, one senator called them out. "Come on. You guys are major competitors. Please," said Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin.

Sprint has voiced staunch opposition to the deal, asserting that it would create a "Twin Bell" duopoly and "put Sprint to be acquired." However, AT&T asserts that the deal would boost call quality and reduce overseas roaming fees while still maintaining "intense" competition.
post #2 of 53
Last week T-Mobile was promoting an "unlimited everything" plan for $79.99. (unlimited voice, data and text)

This week all of the plans have changed on their web site matching AT&T's over priced plans.

Anyone really think this deal isn't going to get rubber stamped approval?
post #3 of 53
Oh, it'll be approved after a lot of hand-waving and histrionics from gutless politicians. They serve their corporate masters and lobbyists well.

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post #4 of 53
These deals always go through, can u remember one that did not? Maybe the FCC chairs can get a sweet job working for ATT, worked for comcast.
post #5 of 53
The last time I checked... just 2 seconds ago... T-mobile's plan is still $79.99 for unlimited voice, data, and text...

Unless you're not in the U.S.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Last week T-Mobile was promoting an "unlimited everything" plan for $79.99. (unlimited voice, data and text)

This week all of the plans have changed on their web site matching AT&T's over priced plans.

Anyone really think this deal isn't going to get rubber stamped approval?
post #6 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

The last time I checked... just 2 seconds ago... T-mobile's plan is still $79.99 for unlimited voice, data, and text...

Unless you're not in the U.S.

Unless you're not looking at their plans page which now lists the $79.99 as "unlimited voice" instead of "unlimited everything" as it was last week.

Now their plans are tiered data instead:

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/c...oup=individual


Talk + Text + Data (2 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (2 GB*) More details
compare$79.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (10 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (10 GB*) More details
compare$119.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (5 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (5 GB*) More details
compare$89.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (200 MB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (200 MB*) More details
compare$69.99/mo.
post #7 of 53
the only people this will really upset is sprint, right now they are one of a few under dogs to the big verizon, but with at&T soaking up tmobile, it'll put them into a more comparable standing to verizon and leave sprint feeling left out by comparison, instead of 1 giant and 3 under dogs, just 2 giants and 1 under dog so to speak. excluding all the even smaller underdogs no one talks about these days
post #8 of 53
how crazy is it to have a grandfathered unlimited plan at this point?
post #9 of 53
I'm still convinced that everyone's main concern is because of the amount of control AT&T would have over GSM, which won't be a factor in 4G (or at least not as much of a factor) because Verizon is also going LTE and Sprint/Clearwire has announced they, too will go the LTE route. So maybe make sure an adequate amount of LTE is available/operational or that AT&T has deployment dates they have to meet to ensure the market remains competitive before approving the merger.
post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Last week T-Mobile was promoting an "unlimited everything" plan for $79.99. (unlimited voice, data and text)

This week all of the plans have changed on their web site matching AT&T's over priced plans.

Completely expected.
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post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Unless you're not looking at their plans page which now lists the $79.99 as "unlimited voice" instead of "unlimited everything" as it was last week.

Now their plans are tiered data instead:

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/c...oup=individual


Talk + Text + Data (2 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (2 GB*) More details
compare$79.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (10 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (10 GB*) More details
compare$119.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (5 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (5 GB*) More details
compare$89.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (200 MB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (200 MB*) More details
compare$69.99/mo.

"*Plan price includes $20 unlimited data. Unlimited high-speed data access (2 GB at up to 4G speeds on capable devices). If you use up your 2 GB of high-speed data, we will automatically reduce your speeds for the rest of your billing cycle. That means you will never have to worry about data overages. "
post #12 of 53
T-Mobile has no clear upgrade path to LTE and DT seems very unwillingly to pony up the cash, so they can only milk their HSPA+ network for so long. Eventually, someone is going to come in with the cash to do it, or they'll end up getting eaten up by the likes of an AT&T anyway. So what difference does it make?
post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post

T-Mobile has no clear upgrade path to LTE and DT seems very unwillingly to pony up the cash, so they can only milk their HSPA+ network for so long. Eventually, someone is going to come in with the cash to do it, or they'll end up getting eaten up by the likes of an AT&T anyway. So what difference does it make?

The difference is there are a lot of people that use their phones to make phone calls and could give a crap about 4G or even 3G data service. These people like T-Mobile because they have lower rates in general, and these rates will simply not stay that way once AT&T takes over.

There are also people who like T-Mobile because they are not AT&T.

If we want to see if this merger is a good idea, look no further than user reaction:
  • Current AT&T subscribers don't care if it goes through or not.
  • T-Mobile subscribers generally DON'T want it to go through.
  • Consumer watchdog groups don't want it to go through.

There is nothing really to gain for anyone in this deal except executives of the two companies. Everyone else loses in some way.
post #14 of 53
Dumb question, why wasn't T-mobile compatible with AT&T spectrum, etc. in the first place? Wouldn't this have given T-mobile a chance to compete as it started out? It could have gotten the iPhone before Verizon, be on a globally-compatible 3G and 4G upgrade path etc.
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Last week T-Mobile was promoting an "unlimited everything" plan for $79.99. (unlimited voice, data and text)

This week all of the plans have changed on their web site matching AT&T's over priced plans.

Anyone really think this deal isn't going to get rubber stamped approval?

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Completely expected.

So basically the regulatory approval is a farce, then... Since T-Mobile will simply operate as from now on as though it has already been bought, no incentive to compete anyway, right?
post #16 of 53
What ever happened to the evil Ma Bell. We had to disassemble her because she was throttling competition. It is Ma Bell all over again in duplicate. We never learn, do we?
post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by b1937 View Post

What ever happened to the evil Ma Bell. We had to disassemble her because she was throttling competition. It is Ma Bell all over again in duplicate. We never learn, do we?

If you disassemble a national conglomerate, its representative parts have trouble building a nationwide network. At least, the last ones did, but the way it was split was idiotic.

Through mergers back to gigantic monopolies, the network becomes standardized and fleshed out.

And then it needs to be broken up again, correctly this time, to force competition on the large network. But they won't do it.

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #18 of 53
You do understand that AT&T is bigger then Verizon right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalOS View Post

the only people this will really upset is sprint, right now they are one of a few under dogs to the big verizon, but with at&T soaking up tmobile, it'll put them into a more comparable standing to verizon and leave sprint feeling left out by comparison, instead of 1 giant and 3 under dogs, just 2 giants and 1 under dog so to speak. excluding all the even smaller underdogs no one talks about these days
post #19 of 53
T-Mobile licensed a different spectrum. The iPhone could have worked on T-Mobile's spectrum all along. I am using an iPhone on T-Mobile. I can't use 3G on T-Mobile, but that could have been corrected by Apple tweaking the hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Dumb question, why wasn't T-mobile compatible with AT&T spectrum, etc. in the first place? Wouldn't this have given T-mobile a chance to compete as it started out? It could have gotten the iPhone before Verizon, be on a globally-compatible 3G and 4G upgrade path etc.
post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Last week T-Mobile was promoting an "unlimited everything" plan for $79.99. (unlimited voice, data and text)

This week all of the plans have changed on their web site matching AT&T's over priced plans.

Anyone really think this deal isn't going to get rubber stamped approval?


Yeah unlimited data plans aren't any big deal for carriers when only 5-10% of their customers have smartphones but when 30,40, 50% of them do they have to ration. Spectrum is a finite resource and when supply can't expand to meet demand, price has to increase to ration supply.
post #21 of 53
Good summary. This deal, however, is bad for everybody including people happy with AT&T (which I can't imagine why). Besides firing people, closing down stores, and raising prices, AT&T and Verizon will have more power to hardball hardware manufactures like Apple for more concessions thereby killing innovation. Verizon and AT&T currently don't compete with one another as they generally follow the others lead in pricing.


T-Mobile's was playing the game with a handicap. Verizon and AT&T were able to leverage their size to obtain exclusivity deals where other carriers weren't able to access popular phones like the iPhone. Prior to the iPhone AT&T had less then 50 million subscribers. At the end of the exclusivity period, it has double that. Further, after the contracts were up people weren't allowed to easily jump ship.


I have tried Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. T-Mobile by far is the best company to deal with out of the three (I know that is subjective, but that is the point).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaFox View Post

The difference is there are a lot of people that use their phones to make phone calls and could give a crap about 4G or even 3G data service. These people like T-Mobile because they have lower rates in general, and these rates will simply not stay that way once AT&T takes over.

There are also people who like T-Mobile because they are not AT&T.

If we want to see if this merger is a good idea, look no further than user reaction:
  • Current AT&T subscribers don't care if it goes through or not.
  • T-Mobile subscribers generally DON'T want it to go through.
  • Consumer watchdog groups don't want it to go through.

There is nothing really to gain for anyone in this deal except executives of the two companies. Everyone else loses in some way.
post #22 of 53
That is true. However, you are operating under the premise that the supply can't meet the demand. I doubt that is true. Verizon doesn't seem to be suffering any problems with its current unlimited plans. It just wants to make more money.

Maybe I am a cynic, but I think the companies are just greedy. That is why companies like Comcast and AT&T are putting caps on their traditional broadband. People are starting to ditch services like cable TV and U-Verse and using services like Hulu-Plus and Netflix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turley Muller View Post

Yeah unlimited data plans aren't any big deal for carriers when only 5-10% of their customers have smartphones but when 30,40, 50% of them do they have to ration. Spectrum is a finite resource and when supply can't expand to meet demand, price has to increase to ration supply.
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turley Muller View Post

...when supply can't expand to meet demand...

There is absolutely no excuse for this.

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

There is absolutely no excuse for this.

There is an excuse. The government hasn't freed up enough spectrum and when spectrum does become available it's a long a process to acquire.

It typically takes several years to bring a new cell site into service. Tons of red tape to acquire property rights, permits, fcc approval etc. Demand is drastically out stripping supply due to smartphone adoption and additional capacity takes way too long to deploy
post #25 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

That is true. However, you are operating under the premise that the supply can't meet the demand. I doubt that is true. Verizon doesn't seem to be suffering any problems with its current unlimited plans. It just wants to make more money.

Maybe I am a cynic, but I think the companies are just greedy. That is why companies like Comcast and AT&T are putting caps on their traditional broadband. People are starting to ditch services like cable TV and U-Verse and using services like Hulu-Plus and Netflix.

Verizon has had the least problems mainly because they only operate one network (excluding LTE) CDMA. AT&T has it resources between between 2G GSM and W-CDMA.

Comcast doesn't employ caps to make more money but rather to try to stave off making less money. Cable and wireless companies need to generate a set amount of revenue to recover the massive costs of building and maintaining networks.
post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbydek View Post

I'm still convinced that everyone's main concern is because of the amount of control AT&T would have over GSM, which won't be a factor in 4G [...] So maybe make sure an adequate amount of LTE is available/operational or that AT&T has deployment dates they have to meet to ensure the market remains competitive before approving the merger.

No, most people's main concern is that, with almost no real competition in the wireless market now, fewer carriers just makes a bad (for consumers) situation worse. If the FCC approves this acquisition, they'll have no choice but to approve what will be an inevitable Verizon acquisition of Sprint, leaving us with even less chance for any real competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Dumb question, why wasn't T-mobile compatible with AT&T spectrum, etc. in the first place? ...

Because wireless carriers in this country have gone out of their way to be incompatible with each other to reduce actual competition by locking in customers via technology, as well as by contract. The less they have to compete on price, the more profitable it is for all of them, and they understand that very well.
post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turley Muller View Post

There is an excuse. The government hasn't freed up enough spectrum and when spectrum does become available it's a long a process to acquire.

It typically takes several years to bring a new cell site into service. Tons of red tape to acquire property rights, permits, fcc approval etc. Demand is drastically out stripping supply due to smartphone adoption and additional capacity takes way too long to deploy

Again, there is absolutely no excuse for this. What happened to the 700MHz band we just freed up?

Why can't we just better utilize the existing bandwidth?

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turley Muller View Post

... Comcast doesn't employ caps to make more money but rather to try to stave off making less money. Cable and wireless companies need to generate a set amount of revenue to recover the massive costs of building and maintaining networks.

Cable and wireless companies are making money hand over fist, and have absolutely no trouble recovering the proportionally not so massive costs of building and maintaining networks that are substandard compared to many foreign service providers.

Bandwidth caps are a way to gut network neutrality by making it more expensive to utilize services like Netflix, while pushing their own "on demand" services, which operate over the same network, as part of television, not network services, exempt from bandwidth caps. It's simply a way for carriers to gain an unfair advantage in selling services, not by throttling the service providers' traffic, but by forcing customers to "self-throttle" access to those services.
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by b1937 View Post

What ever happened to the evil Ma Bell. We had to disassemble her because she was throttling competition. It is Ma Bell all over again in duplicate. We never learn, do we?

You have got that right. I have reminded the FCC about the breakup of AT&T.
post #30 of 53
You said that their plans are now matched with AT&T, which isn't true at all.

As for unlimited data, it still is unlimited data if you don't mind the slow speed. The fine print says, "Unlimited data: 2 GB of high-speed data, then reduced speeds after that. If you use up your high-speed data, we will automatically reduce your speeds for the rest of your billing cycle. That means you are always connected and will never have to worry about overages."



Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Unless you're not looking at their plans page which now lists the $79.99 as "unlimited voice" instead of "unlimited everything" as it was last week.

Now their plans are tiered data instead:

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/c...oup=individual


Talk + Text + Data (2 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (2 GB*) More details
compare$79.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (10 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (10 GB*) More details
compare$119.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (5 GB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (5 GB*) More details
compare$89.99/mo.

Talk + Text + Data (200 MB of high-speed data)
Even More Ultd Talk + Ultd Text + Ultd Data (200 MB*) More details
compare$69.99/mo.
post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaFox View Post

The difference is there are a lot of people that use their phones to make phone calls and could give a crap about 4G or even 3G data service. These people like T-Mobile because they have lower rates in general, and these rates will simply not stay that way once AT&T takes over.

There are also people who like T-Mobile because they are not AT&T.

If we want to see if this merger is a good idea, look no further than user reaction:
  • Current AT&T subscribers don't care if it goes through or not.
  • T-Mobile subscribers generally DON'T want it to go through.
  • Consumer watchdog groups don't want it to go through.

There is nothing really to gain for anyone in this deal except executives of the two companies. Everyone else loses in some way.

Speak for yourself How in anyway possible do you suppose your comments speak to anyone's concerns but your own? I am an AT&T customer and and a technologist and I (and my associates) would very much like to see this merger go through because it would mean better coverage and service for customers of both companies in the long run. As far as those wanting only voice service? Get with reality: very soon there will be no voice channels; Only data. All networks are changing over to VOIP and a complete transition to LTE will necessitate it. If Sprint gets swallowed up in the process, all the better for their and Verizon's customers as well. As history has shown, prices will go up regardless as price is driven by demand.
The only thing blocking this deal will serve is to slow transition to better technology to a crawl and keep the US in last place in cellular service.
post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turley Muller View Post

Yeah unlimited data plans aren't any big deal for carriers when only 5-10% of their customers have smartphones but when 30,40, 50% of them do they have to ration. Spectrum is a finite resource and when supply can't expand to meet demand, price has to increase to ration supply.

Spectrum is not scarce; utilization is just ineffective. Telcos want to minimize tower locations, and do not encourage pico- and micro-cell deployment within buildings and high use areas. They will sell you a femtocell (branded by AT&T as microcell), but it has about 20% of the functionality, and uses your own uplink.

Airports are a great example of the mess they have created. Dropped calls in an airport?! No data!!

Most of the areas with bad service or inadequate speeds are a function of inadequate backbones and not enough towers. Being able to do more with fewer towers is nice, but it isn't realistic with mobile data growth.

They simply aren't reinvesting profits in infrastructure to support higher data thresholds.
post #33 of 53
It's not as easy as you think. I for one would NOT want a cell tower anywhere near my backyard... I'm sure millions of other people feel the same way. Because of this, phone companies must use what they already have. What I'd like to see is EACH cell tower that is in existence should be required to accommodate ALL phone companies. For example: The tower along the freeway should have antennas from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile on them. Why the heck do we have three freaking cell towers in one place? Why not just combine them into one tower? The government needs to get involved in making cell tower sharing a requirement so that we don't have to have 4 towers for 4 different companies all in one freaking place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Spectrum is not scarce; utilization is just ineffective. Telcos want to minimize tower locations, and do not encourage pico- and micro-cell deployment within buildings and high use areas. They will sell you a femtocell (branded by AT&T as microcell), but it has about 20% of the functionality, and uses your own uplink.

Airports are a great example of the mess they have created. Dropped calls in an airport?! No data!!

Most of the areas with bad service or inadequate speeds are a function of inadequate backbones and not enough towers. Being able to do more with fewer towers is nice, but it isn't realistic with mobile data growth.

They simply aren't reinvesting profits in infrastructure to support higher data thresholds.
post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Oh, it'll be approved after a lot of hand-waving and histrionics from gutless politicians. They serve their corporate masters and lobbyists well.

They are just doing the histrionics to make voters think they care about the voters, when in reality they are corporate puppets collecting lots of dirty money. Nothing will stop the deal, and T-Mobile will be gutted afterwards.
post #35 of 53
If the government lets this through, it has to make ATT and Verizon open up their networks to competitors. Let Sprint piggy back on the merger's network. Otherwise I dont see how this is good for anyone.
post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Dumb question, why wasn't T-mobile compatible with AT&T spectrum, etc. in the first place?

The FCC. Rules are that two companies can't make use of the same spectrum.

This is why when you unlock your iPhone to use T-Moblie you only get EDGE, not 3G.

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post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Oh, it'll be approved after a lot of hand-waving and histrionics from gutless politicians. They serve their corporate masters and lobbyists well.

They have to look like they are doing their job. As long as AT&T chants the magical incantation "No, senator, eliminating a wireless carrier and creating the biggest mobile carrier in the U.S. actually increases competition. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but our lawyers have checked into this, and they say it's OK" then they'll be fine.

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post #38 of 53
Any consumer who wants this thing to go through is incredibly short sighted. Yes, in the short run, poor ATT customers will see more bars, and fewer dropped calls because of T-Mobile's 2G network. (But they won't see much improvement in data service, because T-Mobile's 3G network uses 1700Mhz AWS spectrum, which is not supported by most phones designed to work on ATT 3G. There may be some exceptions, with penta-band Nokias, but who uses those?)

I'm from Canada, we have big 3 telecoms that act as 1. The government recently tried to open the market to 3 more companies by selling them some 1700Mhz spectrum exclusively, they have been on the market for over a year now, and failed to make a dent.

Long run is not so rosy. A market with 3 players is obviously less competitive than a market with 4 players. This ATT/Tmobile merger ruling would set a precedent, and open the door for Verizon to buy Sprint, and then you're all screwed. Once it's done, it's irreversible. With two huge established telecom companies, the barrier to entry for any new carrier would be impossibly huge.

ATT is obligated use everything they've got to increase shareholder value. Since you won't have a choice but to buy their service, they will charge what ever want to show profit growth. Cell service has inelastic demand, a cell phone makes life a lot easier, you're going to pay what they ask. Prepare for unfair data caps, and high prices, because with a duopoly, you won't have a choice.

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post #39 of 53
Anyone in U.S. had any luck with getting AT&T to unlock an iPhone? I want to use local phone service in Germany when I travel there this Fall.
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKpro View Post

Any consumer who wants this thing to go through is incredibly short sighted. Yes, in the short run, poor ATT customers will see more bars, and fewer dropped calls because of T-Mobile's 2G network. (But they won't see much improvement in data service, because T-Mobile's 3G network uses 1700Mhz AWS spectrum, which is not supported by most phones designed to work on ATT 3G. There may be some exceptions, with penta-band Nokias, but who uses those?)

I agree with your premise that reducing the number of MNOs from 4 to 3 will not be good for consumers, but there are some things to consider regarding T-Mobile USA’s ‘3G’ network.

First and foremost, I’d like to point out the iPhone 4 is penta-band. I think it was the 2nd one in production after the Nokia N8. Apple has still not used the 5th band which only seems to be widely utilized by Japan’s largest carrier, NTT docomo.

For that reason I don’t think we can discount the notion of the iPhone including the 1700MHz band either as a 5th band (or even a 6th if Apple does intend to announce a deal with Japan’s largest carrier).

Also note the iPhone 4 for Verizon uses the Qualcomm’s Gobi MDM6600 baseband chip which I believe already supports UMTS band IV should apple include the radio for it and the other UMTS bands. Unfortunately the doesn’t translate into being a viable choice for your HS*PA needs, especially when it comes to power efficiency.
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