If the transaction is successful, AT&T will become increasingly large and controlling the U.S. mobile market. Because, now AT&T is recorded still in second place under Verizon Wireless.
With the acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T will have 43% market share, from previously only 32%. That is, they managed to shift the Verizon Wireless at the top which currently has a 34.5% share of U.S. mobile phone market.
Tolaga Institute Research predicted that AT&T will add 34 million subscribers with the purchase action of T-Mobile so that the number of their customers which currently reaches 96 million will more and more.
A source said the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson had met directly with the CEO of Deutsche Telekom Rene Obermann in December 2010 and then discussed this transaction.
Even, the source added that both sides had reached an agreement last week.
Unfortunately, AT&T did not want to talk a lot about this acquisition plan. Stephenson only ensured that his party has cleared regulatory affairs related to smooth this transaction and also declared that this agreement will save more than USD 40 billion.
“This is a unique opportunity. Rarely you make a transaction where the synergie that occurs is greater than the price,” he said, as reported by Reuters on Sunday (March 20, 2011).
The View at Ground Level
So what can you expect?
1. No iPhone, if a T-Mobile customer. A company-issued merger FAQ asks: “Is T-Mobile USA getting the iPhone?” Answer: “We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.” Perhaps there will be an iPhone for you post merger, but nothing sooner.
2. Phones with better data options — soon. Right now many new smartphones either support AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s data network. That’s sure to change, as AT&T prepares customers for the big network integration. The carrier can smooth the transition by offering more phones that support both data networks before the merger closes.
3. Billing cycles change. AT&T using the popular money-grubbing method of charging customers ahead — for the next month’s service (aside from overages). T-Mobile charges for the billing period just passed. Surely AT&T’s method will rule.
4. Higher fees for T-Mobile subscribers. AT&T Wireless fees were generally less than Cingular’s before the acquisition, like T-Mobile’s are today. I expect AT&T (formerly Cingular) to raise fees for T-Mobile subscribers.
5. Bye, bye unlimited data plans. T-Mobile offers unlimited data plans. AT&T doesn’t. Expect these to go away post merger. Qualification: Unlimited in T-Mobile parlance means 5GB or 10GB per month, followed by throttling when customers pass the data cap. AT&T data maxes out at 2GB, and customers incur extra fees for overages.
6. No more unlocking. T-Mobile has long provided customers unlock codes for their phones. The carrier recognizes that people travel and want to use local SIM cards. AT&T wants to sell subscribers costly roaming services instead. T-Mobile unlocks phones by request, and typically customers must own them for a few months first. I don’t see AT&T unlocking T-Mobile subscriber handsets post merger.
7. Hello, rollover minutes. T-Mobile minutes expire if unused. AT&T lets customers stockpile unused minutes for 12 months. As T-Mobile subscribers migrate to AT&T plans, they will pick up the benefit of rollover minutes.
So, AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, what do you think of the merger? Please answer in comments.