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Well, I guess that's one way to get an iPhone on T-Mobile...

Here’s the release with the details of the deal. AT&T will pay roughly $39 billion to Deutsche Telekom for T-Mobile USA. Deutsche Telekom will also get a roughly 8 percent ownership stake in AT&T as a result of the deal. And a Deutsche Telekom executive will join AT&T’s Board.

With the deal, AT&T will get access to T-Mobile’s roughly 35 million customers. If the two fully merge, this will push AT&T far past Verizon in terms of subscriber numbers. Currently, Verizon has about 100 million subscribers in the U.S., while AT&T has about 95 million. This deal will also leave Sprint as the lone large outsider, with about 50 million subscribers.


I'm not really sure how much there is for me to add to this news, as the downside in terms of competition, innovation, net neutrality and increased corporatism write themselves.

So, like a blob of mercury, or the T-1000 from Terminator 2, the AT&T Breakup of 1982 (officially the "Bell System Divsestiture") is effectively 2 steps away from coming full circle.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I was already looking..... (5+ / 0-) jumping ship, and thinking that Sprint was looking like a likely candidate.

    •  I've been doing VirginMobile (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, Corwin Weber

      Lately the Data hasn't been so hot and was just starting to look at T-Mobile's various prepaid plans...but now I think I'll just stick with Virgin mobile.

      It's $25/month for 300 minutes and unlimited data/text.

      I used 25 minutes last month and plenty of the other.  I mean, when I could actually access the internet from my phone.  I'm sure I'll just ride out the network issues.

  •  Pardon my Anglo, but SHIT. (7+ / 0-)

    We just left Credo Mobile for T-Mobile due to customer service issues lasting several years. (I have been after them to let me tether for about two years and they say they probably never will.) We signed 2-year contracts with T-Mobile. We are SO screwed.

    I called Sprint first and they told me they did not have service in our area and could not tell me when they would. (OK, we are in the boonies over here in Kitsap County, but we are still within an hour and a half of Seattle, about half an hour from Tacoma, and you'd think they'd want all the customers over here that they could get.) If they had had service here, I would have gone with them.

    We are SO screwed.

    Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

    by Kitsap River on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:03:12 PM PDT

    •  maybe you can still cancel (3+ / 0-)

      at&t  and verizon give you thirty days to cancel, or least they do here on the east coast. good luck

      Solvent Green is Grandma

      by mad cow on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:31:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We will try (0+ / 0-)

        and see what happens.

        Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

        by Kitsap River on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:30:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry to hear that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, fiddler crabby, Kitsap River

      you had a problem with Credo because, even though it costs me a bit more money, I like the causes they take on. They've been the only company I've felt I could feel positive about. I guess there's no way to win when it comes to mobile phones. So, as I said at the beginning, I'm sorry to hear you're not pleased with them.

      I've been sending good thoughts your way and take it that you're feeling good and doing well.

      •  We gave them six years business (0+ / 0-)

        and had problems the whole time. The most recent Blackberry they sent me (to replace one which broke completely, not my fault nor theirs) crashed on a daily basis, making it extremely difficult to rely on. Having to yank the battery to reboot it all the time was very frustrating. On top of that, it wouldn't even run the software I'd come to rely on. And the capstone was their two-year refusal to let me tether, even for extra money (which we offered them).

        Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

        by Kitsap River on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 09:30:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  AARRGH! Just switched to T-Mobile (8+ / 0-)

    from Verizon because of their fairly cheap prepaid plans that include data. I bet those will go away, or else become way more expensive.  Crap.

    "I believe they talked of me, for they laughed consumedly."--George Farquhar

    by slapshoe on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:04:33 PM PDT

  •  My favorite recent AT&T story... (8+ / 0-)

    is the one where they just switched their network from "3G" to "4G".  Mind you they didn't actually upgrade their network infrastructure, no that would take money and effort.  They just simply renamed their network 4G.

    Marketing at it's finest.

    "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" - Diderot

    by Reverend Floyd on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:11:42 PM PDT

  •  I just told my dad to switch from AT&T to T-Mobile (10+ / 0-)

    He hates his AT&T cell phone so much he's ready to throw it in the local lake. I told him I've had T-Mobile for years and have loved it, while I've heard nothing but complaints from AT&T users in my area. If AT&T messes with the cheap T-Mobile pre-pay plans, I am so out of there.

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by tmo on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:14:03 PM PDT

  •  My mom is on t-mobile (4+ / 0-)

    because of their cheap prepaid deals that let her have an emergency phone for the equivalent of $10 a month. Not sure that deal will outlast this.

    •  That's why I'm with T-mobile. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      About four years ago I put $100 into the pre-paid plan -- it made me a gold account that gave an extra 15% on my minutes. The best part: I could extend those minutes an extra year by adding $10 just before the year was up.

      In four years I've spent less than $150 on my account.

      It's good to have a phone for emergencies, but I'm not a heavy user. T-mobile has served my needs well.

  •  Crap! (6+ / 0-)

    I've had T-mobile since it was VoiceStream. The terms are much more favorable than ATT--I have three lines, two with unlimited voice and one with unlimited data and the last time I added up what my cost would be at ATT (if I could even get unlimited data) it was waaaaay more. The company has never screwed me, they have often lowered the rates when I asked, and I can use my phone to wifi tether without an extra charge (at ATT you have to pay extra).

    Where is antitrust enforcement when you need it?

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

    by marketgeek on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:36:19 PM PDT

    •  What is this "antitrust" you speak of? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddler crabby, Losty

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:08:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think I can top you. (0+ / 0-)

      I've had T-Mobile since it was Omnipoint. I joined Omnipoint because at the time it didn't ask for a credit check (my credit was crap at the time). I was with them when they changed over to VoiceStream as well. I also stayed with them because they were great internationally (Verizon wasn't). I don't approve of this merger, but then again, I am trying to remember the last merger I approved of.

      "Do they call you Rush because you're in a rush to eat?" -"Stutterin' John" Melendez to Rush Limbaugh.

      by Nedsdag on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 07:43:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It makes no sense to have (0+ / 0-)

    two parallel and (mostly) overlapping GSM networks fighting for spectrum while both suffer from spotty coverage.  The net result of this merger will be better coverage and service for customers of both systems, especially where performance is now split . . . better from one on the north side of town, but from the other on the south.  The technical and service benefits are so obvious that I can't believe anybody didn't see it coming . . . and I can't see why anyone would object, either.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 02:49:54 PM PDT

  •  The New AT&T-Mobile: Too Big *And* Fail. (4+ / 0-)

    Fox News IS voter fraud.

    by here4tehbeer on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:04:12 PM PDT

  •  Do we no longer bother with antitrust laws? (9+ / 0-)

    AT&T (really SBC) should not be allowed to further consolidate.

    Not only are these mergers job killers, but they decrease competition and ultimately drive prices upward and service downward.

    Wonder how long Sprint will last?

    It seems as if people don't care if ever sector of the market is dominated by only a very few companies.

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:07:11 PM PDT

  •  better to have a regulated monopoly. (0+ / 0-)

    With a regulated monopoly you know who it is and what it's doing, it does not have the excuse of "if you don't like us, change carriers," and the public pressure on the regulators also reinforces New Deal progressive values and makes them relevant.

  •  A bad deal for consumers - Bush policy fulfilled (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, JanL, fiddler crabby, kurt

    During the Clinton administration, the FCC chose to make wireless telephony far more competitive.  In 1992, there were two carriers per market, the original 800 MHz Cellular licensees.  One was usually the local (still total monopoly) telephone carrier.  The FCC under Reed Hundt chose to open up the PCS band (1900 MHz) in six pieces, with restrictions on who could buy how much at auction, so each major market would have at least five and probably more licensees.  Nextel was on a whole different type of license and thus in addition to those.

    When Cheney and Rove took over, their FCC, under Michael"Junior" Powell, started relaxing the spectrum ownership rule.  This allowed consolidation to start.  Sprint ate Nextel, SBC ate AT&T Wireless (a separate company from the rest of AT&T Corp. which no longer exists), Verizon bought a bunch of stuff.  Subsequent license auctions had few restrictions.  So there were a bunch more mergers.  Most markets were reduced to four competitors.  Powell's replacement, Kevin Martin, was even more aggressively anti-competitive, and dreamed of reducing that to three.  But nobody blinked. T-Mobile and Sprint held on to the second tier, and a few local startups, like Metro PCS and Pocket, got niche markets.

    But now the Obama administration, and its Wall Street FCC chair, has a chance to once again fulfill bad Bush policy. AT&T is eating T-Mobile, the only nearly-national provider using compatible GSM technology.  This reduces the market to three national players, plus the locals, and means you'll have no alternative carrier for an unlocked GSM phone.  

    If you have Metro or Pocket or Cricket, and you travel to an area they're not in, you are Roaming, and that usually costs extra.  Certainly your carrier is paying for roaming, even if they eat it on certain plans.  So they don't really offer full competition to AT&T and Verizon; they specialize in serving "cord cutters".  Plus they have a very limited selection of phones, since AT&T and Verizon use their weight to get the top manufacturers to give them exclusives.  Metro, for instances, has a lot of Chinese phones from ZTE. Hardly stuff people are beating down the doors to get.

    So if you have T-Mobile now, it is likely that, once the acquisition occurs, you will be allowed to stay on your T-m rate plan for the duration of its term, then you'll be moved to a  higher-priced AT&T plan.  As a bonus, you get AT&T's famous customer service, the one that Lily Tomlinso famously modeled.

    Also, with only three carriers left, virtual network operators like Credo will have fewer choices.  The wholesale market almost always happens among carriers below the top two, who concentrate on retail sales.  T-M and Sprint competed wholesale. Now Sprint is the surviving wholesale provider, which does not bode well for its wholesale customers.

    •  This will be Obama policy fulfilled (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When his rubber stamp DOJ and FCC sign off on this deal.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:00:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So let me get this straight... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KateCrashes, ipsos, fiddler crabby

    they're eating up T-Mobile, thus gaining in physical network coverage as well as, assuming, network capacity.

    And I'm reading reports that AT&T is going after iPhone users who have been grandfathered in to unlimited data plans (like me) for tethering their devices, and offering them the opportunity to stop tethering or continue to tether by purchasing a tethering plan on top of their already unlimited data plan?

    Beyond comprehension. I have no serious complaints about AT&T's network but their business practices?

    I have changed my signature. I've added my Flickr photostream. Take a look. We'll BOTH appreciate it.

    by Stand Strong on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 03:29:09 PM PDT

  •  and don't look now, but AT&T just issued... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, LordMike

    ... a revised Terms of Service for DSL customers, as follows:

    Some of this looks ominous.

  •  This is going to be bad for Android... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby

    ...and therefore competition against the Steve Jobs evil empire.

    Big bummer...


    by LordMike on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:04:52 PM PDT

  •  I'm so glad (0+ / 0-)

    I switched T-Mo to Verizon last year. ATT&T scored the worst in consumer report, and I knew ppl with ATT&T wanted to leave, but had to wait until Verizon started selling Iphones.

    power concede nothing without a fight....

    by bosshogg on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:06:20 PM PDT

    •  Been thinking about a T Mobile Droid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Had T Mobile since 2005 in NJ, next to NYC, excellent audio and better than average coverage in the NYC tri state Philly area.

      I drive a Limo and have picked up so many customers who have dropped calls on their iPhones. Business travelers with iPhones tell me NY and LA suck for ATT.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:36:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we had a Democratic President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This deal would be in trouble.

    However, we have Obama, so I assume that he'll rubber stamp it.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 04:11:40 PM PDT

  •  It could be blocked by regulators (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby, Brainwrap

    And pigs could fly, I know, but there's a chance - if enough people make a stink about it. I'm a T-Mobile customer. I'll start making my stink tomorrow.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:20:20 PM PDT

  •  Damn!!! the main reason I stayed with T-Mobil is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fiddler crabby, kurt, Brainwrap

    that they did not participate in the Bush admninistration's breach of privacy like AT+T and Verizon who readily handed over the telephone records of their customers.  Now where does one go for integrity?

    You don't get to keep democracy unless you fight for it.

    by artebella on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 05:29:04 PM PDT

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