First, let’s read the title. Revolts and natural disasters are obviously worse, and where people are dying, starving, and suffering, this is not much of anything big. So, please read before you send hate mail. Yesterday, Several of tech blogs and eventually T-Mobile confirmed that AT&T has decided to buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion. The merger unless US Regulatory intervenes will take place completely in about a year. Now, there were weak rumors that Sprint would have bought T-Mobile, but never really seen that. And the reason for rumors to begin with, is Deutsche Telekom (parent company of T-Mobile) was putting it for sale since it was loosing money.
So, what does this mean for Deutsche Telekom. Well, first they get to take home $39 Billion and some stock in the new AT&T. They can take home stock shares that will give them profits without having to deal with a coverage area bigger than the remainder of the coverage they control combined. In addition, they get to take $39 Billion to build their European Market, and make the US customer wish even more so of the great coverage and rates in Europe.
What does AT&T get out of this? An expanded network as the spectrums for the two carriers can work with each other. A larger network especially in troubled areas like New York City, and Silicon Valley. More towers means more customers capabilities. They also stand a chance of usurping Verizon in size according to customer base. This means that they can claim to be the largest network even if not in area. In addition, they also get to use the faster HSDPA+ that T-Mobile has which they very liberally call 4G. While this isn’t a long term benefit, it will help until LTE grows.
And what does T-Mobile get? Well, the customers will get higher prices, less control, less customer service, less options that matter, and less respect. But, hey – we get the AT&T iPhone (yay). Why am I so negative with AT&T. Well, I was a customer with AT&T about 4 – 5 years ago. I don’t think there was the iPhone. And this what I got from personal experience. Even when dealing with AT&T on the behalf of someone else, it was more of a disgusting aspect to the point where some of the customer service representatives are too lazy to deal with you unless you are going to buy a phone and make them commission. I can only imagine that things have gotten worse in the AT&T camp, and now T-Mobile customers have the choice of either deal with this terrible quality or leave GSM completely to go to CDMA where the choice is just as expensive Verizon, or just as fragile Sprint.
Well, it can’t be that bad, right? Wrong! First, let’s look at prices. I have unlimited voice, and unlimited SMS. I also have 5GB of data which will get throttled if I go over. Now, I currently have a family plan, but the respective individual plan is $80. Now, once in a while, I will tether my phone to my notebook to do a quick email, or web browsing on my PC. I’m not streaming or doing massive data consumption, and in my peak – I may have hit 1GB of data. So for all of this – how much will I have to pay with AT&T. Well, there is the $70 for the voice. $20 for the SMS, and $45 for the 4GB of data (with $10/GB overage). Insurance is another $5 (about $1 less than T-Mobile’s Insurance). So, all of this is $140, or about $60 more than what I am paying now.
Well, as for the less control. There are your two or three RIM phones that are 3G. There are your iPhones, and your Androids. Let’s face it, RIM been slacking in their R&D to matter anymore. So, it is Android and iPhone. Well, iPhone locks you to their App store. Yes, you could root your phone, and pay $600 – $700 for a replacement if something goes wrong. Thank goodness Android isn’t that bad. Oh, wait – AT&T Androids are locked to only work with the Google Market place which they can omit apps they don’t wish. That is why I never recommend Android to AT&T users.
And at least with T-Mobile, I can work with them on good prices. I was asking them for something worthwhile, and I was offered a contract price (with a 2 year contract) to where I would have paid $5 more than I am now. Now, I am not willing to go on a contract if I can prevent it but that would be tempting. Would I get that from AT&T – no. And considering that non contract prices with the phones are high, T-Mobile is willing to break it up over 20 months. A $500 phone can be $25 per month. Will AT&T do that, no! And of course when you can’t get real customer service in some of their stores, and you get the impression the policy is Sucks to be You, you feel as if you would get less respect. And this is when they are not the largest. How much of a$$h@les will they be after they get a cellular carrier. I’m sure you remember Alltel, and Cingular, and how they are happy with AT&T now?
And let’s not throw in all of the possible consequences. AT&T was the last to get Android devices out of the big 4. And while they may have some exclusives like the iPhone (in previous times), the Atrix, and the RIM 9800 – let’s face it, they are not chasing down for unique devices, and when they do – they seek to squeeze every penny they can without regard to their customers.
So what would happen when the merger takes full effect. Most likely, I don’t see me staying. Simply put, I can not afford a $140 + tax phone bill when I only receive $700 per month. However, because of my physical issues, I will need a phone, and a smart phone has benefited me much more than a regular phone. I do use the features of a smart phone, and it is not just a glorified phone for me. So, I may have to be stuck to hope for Sprint, or worse yet – Cricket, or Virgin Mobile, although those two carriers have nothing to make me want to go with them. It maybe a depressing move at best.
But, hey – T-Mobile customers will get the iPhone.