T-Mobile gets the iPhone, Apple gets fast new HSPA+ network

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
AT&T's $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom will not only create America's largest mobile carrier but also the largest US iPhone carrier by adding 33.7 million T-Mobile subscribers to AT&T's network of about 95.5 million, creating a total of about 130 million users on a network with ultra fast HSPA+ coverage.



The deal will effectively expand Apple's iPhone to three of what were the top four US carriers when it arrived in 2007. Apple already brought its popular smartphone to Verizon earlier this year, leaving Sprint as the only major US carrier without the ability to offer the iPhone.



T-Mobile formerly had "no chance" at getting the iPhone



Deutsche Telekom specifically cited T-Mobile's lack of the iPhone as a reason why the company's US subsidiary's performance was slumping last fall.



The Wall Street Journal noted that "consumers like T-Mobile but they also want to have the iPhone," which at the time the Journal said that T-Mobile USA "has no chance of getting in the short term."



"The U.S. used to be a cash cow for Deutsche Telekom but it has struggled there since 2008 and has been forced to invest more to keep existing customers and attract new ones," the report said.



A fast new network for Apple's iPhone



Deutsche Telekom was an early (and originally an exclusive) iPhone partner for Apple in Europe, but it could not bring the popular smartphone to America for T-Mobile due to radio frequency differences in the firm's US network. T-Mobile's non-standard 3G radio spectrum allocations were granted due to the scarcity of available spectrum.



By selling T-Mobile to AT&T, Deutsche Telekom retains a foothold in the US market while AT&T will greatly bolster its ability to provide improved coverage now. It also accelerates its ability to roll out "4G" HSPA+ technology that Apple's iPhone 5 is expected to support this summer, thanks to new Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband chip already in use in the Verizon iPhone 4 model, which latently supports HSPA+ and will expose functional support in the new AT&T model this summer.



Both AT&T and T-Mobile have already begun building out HSPA+, the latest generation of GSM/3GPP mobile networking supporting data speeds of up to 21Mbps (as some European carriers have been operating for years). Existing AT&T iPhone 4 models support 7Mbps data downloads, and HSPA+ networks can be backwardly compatible with them; new iPhone 5 models are expected to be able to take full advantage of the fast new network.



In comparison, Sprint's WiMAX offers about 10Mbps, while existing AT&T and Verizon 3G service is closer to 1-2Mbps. Verizon's new LTE data network tests at 40-50Mbps in the lab, but real throughput is closer to 5-12Mbps for downloads and uploads of 2-5Mbps. Neither WiMAX nor LTE currently offer significant coverage in the US.



T-Mobile currently offers or plans to offer HSPA+ service in around 100 markets, and has been advertising the service as "4G" in conjunction with the Android-based HTC EVO. With T-Mobile's HSPA+ network now begin rolled into AT&T, it's likely that the combined company will aggressively push its greatly widening speed advantage over Verizon and focus on selling new iPhones.



It remains to be seen how quickly AT&T will be able to leverage its new T-Mobile towers to improve its coverage, how long the combined company will continue to operate T-Mobile's non-standard 3G UMTS frequencies, or whether AT&T will work with hardware makers like Apple to incorporate support for the additional frequency bands.



In a press release, the two companies stated that AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers "will see service improvements - including improved voice quality - as a result of additional spectrum, increased cell tower density and broader network infrastructure," noting that as soon as the deal closes, AT&T "will immediately gain cell sites equivalent to what would have taken on average five years to build without the transaction, and double that in some markets."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 120
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Will the iPhone now be sold unlocked now?
  • Reply 2 of 120
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mgl323 View Post


    Will the iPhone now be sold unlocked now?



    Maybe that will mean better service by att
  • Reply 3 of 120
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 432member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mgl323 View Post


    Will the iPhone now be sold unlocked now?



    I doubt it. Most likely it'd be locked to AT&T, as T-Mobile would be re-branded as AT&T. Not that it matters; the iPhone still can't use T-Mobile's 3G frequencies anyway.
  • Reply 4 of 120
    rf9rf9 Posts: 70member
    T-Mobile posted that T-Mobile will remain an independent company am that they will not be getting the iPhone.

    So this is largely a network expansion/consolidation issue. I guess that means that while TMo an AT&T will be separate, they'll be the same network.
  • Reply 5 of 120
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rf9 View Post


    T-Mobile posted that T-Mobile will remain an independent company am that they will not be getting the iPhone.

    So this is largely a network expansion/consolidation issue. I guess that means that while TMo an AT&T will be separate, they'll be the same network.



    For now, until the FCC approves it.
  • Reply 6 of 120
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    So is t-mobile dead? Should I start making plans to transition to Verizon instead? I was very happy with tmobiles coverage and rates, I guess this had to happen at some point.



    Will also mean the end of unlocking the iPhone cause we are now stuck with just one carrier per wireless technology.
  • Reply 7 of 120
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rf9 View Post


    T-Mobile posted that T-Mobile will remain an independent company am that they will not be getting the iPhone. So this is largely a network expansion/consolidation issue. I guess that means that while TMo an AT&T will be separate, they'll be the same network.



    Nonsense! As soon as the deal is done, AT&T will start the process of phasing out T-Mobile and transferring all customers renewing their contracts to AT&T's network. In the process, old T-Mobile equipment will be upgraded to handle AT&T's network needs as T-Mobile customers disappear off T-Mobile's network.



    In 2 years, you won't have anyone left on T-Mobile's old network and the brand name will be gone.
  • Reply 8 of 120
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    This means there are fewer carriers, so service will suck more, we'll start getting less for our money, and they will be charging us more money for the service. Great! There are now only 2 major carriers: Verizon and AT&T, and now only one slightly secondary carrier: Sprint. Everyone else isn't even a player. Less competition means the customers get screwed more.
  • Reply 9 of 120
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KT Walrus View Post


    Nonsense! As soon as the deal is done, AT&T will start the process of phasing out T-Mobile and transferring all customers renewing their contracts to AT&T's network



    FCC won't allow a straight merger of companies this large. This is going to get messy.
  • Reply 10 of 120
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,693member
  • Reply 11 of 120
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    FCC won't allow a straight merger of companies this large. This is going to get messy.



    This is the same FCC that allowed Comcast to buy NBC right?
  • Reply 12 of 120
    Tmo is not getting the iPhone, its spectrum stays the same, so no 3G service that means no official iPhone. Tmo stays intact as a company for the most part, prices will go up for sure. Well time to look for a new phone carrier, AT&T blows.
  • Reply 13 of 120
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    improved voice quality would be welcome but the article doesn't explain how the merger actually improves voice quality. More towers isn't going to solve a poor voice algorithm. I could stand right under an AT&T tower and the voice would still sound like crap.
  • Reply 14 of 120
    macosxpmacosxp Posts: 152member
    I don't want an AT&T iPhone, I want a T-Mobile iPhone, and this merger does NOT produce a T-Mobile iPhone! The only thing this will do is increase the prices and reduce the customer service of T-Mobile. iPhone users were going to switch to T-Mobile despite the iPhone because they don't like AT&T. Now they'll just go to Sprint. It's not like AT&T will offer an unlimited data low-cost-plan "T-Mobile" iPhone. And T-Mobile could have very easily gotten the iPhone 5 if Apple would have just added a spectrum to the antenna. Instead of holding out for Apple, they caved and sold all their users down the river.



    I really hope the deal does not go through and that Apple produces a T-Mobile-compatible iPhone 5.
  • Reply 15 of 120
    nkhmnkhm Posts: 928member
    Nice to see the US once again playing catchup. I have a T-Mobile iPhone here in the UK and I love it. They have the best coverage, the fastest 3G and best customer service in the UK.



    Having frequently visited the US, if I had to put up full time with the lousy service provided by AT&T and Verizon, i'd go mad - I can't believe what a second rate cell phone network the states has.
  • Reply 16 of 120
    Quote:

    It remains to be seen how quickly AT&T will be able to leverage its new T-Mobile towers to improve its coverage, how long the combined company will continue to operate T-Mobile's non-standard 3G UMTS frequencies, or whether AT&T will work with hardware makers like Apple to incorporate support for the additional frequency bands.



    Good question. My guess is AT&T will change T-Mobile's 3G frequency to theirs and allow T-mobile customers to roam on their 3G frequency (like T-Mobile and Orange now do in the UK), therefore allowing T-Mobile customers to use iPhones on a 3G network.
  • Reply 17 of 120
    patranuspatranus Posts: 366member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    FCC won't allow a straight merger of companies this large. This is going to get messy.



    T-Mobile isn't a "large" player.
  • Reply 18 of 120
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    So is t-mobile dead? Should I start making plans to transition to Verizon instead? I was very happy with tmobiles coverage and rates, I guess this had to happen at some point.



    No, first of all, coverage will only get better so don't een bring that up as a reason that makes no sense. Secondly, if you have a contract you'll be protected by terms in said contract; thirdly T Mobile is for now just a fully owned subsidiary and rates will theoretically no be affected.
  • Reply 19 of 120
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    FCC won't allow a straight merger of companies this large. This is going to get messy.



    The FCC is a rubber stamp agency.



    Corporate monopolies run the US now. Political parties are a front to keep the populace distracted.

  • Reply 20 of 120
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    So finally T-Mobile iPhone rumors become true somehow
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