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California lawmakers move to review AT&T-Mobile deal, skepticism growing

Posted: , by Victor H.

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California lawmakers move to review AT&T-Mobile deal, skepticism growing
As skepticism over the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile grows, California lawmakers started investigating the $39 billion deal that is set to shift the tectonic plates of the U.S. mobile landscape. The chief executives of both carriers appeared to defend the deal, but rival operators and skeptics pointed out that the final outcome of the deal would be even higher prices for the end-customer.

“There are legitimate questions about whether this merger could move the wireless market past the anticompetitive tipping point,” Republican representative Bob Goodlatte noted. The statement of Goodlatte represents what carriers like Sprint and Leap Wireless have brought up against the deal. In addition, statistics further back the monopoly point as after the deal 8 out of 10 handsets in the States will carry either the AT&T or the Verizon logo.

"We believe a thorough investigation will reveal the negative implications for pricing, choice and innovation, critical to California's economy," Sprint commented. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to further prepare a possible review of the deal. The next vote is set for June 9th.

One of the main counter-arguments lies in the improved coverage as two months ago AT&T demonstrated the dramatic improvement in broadband coverage that the deal will introduce. The U.S. second largest carrier also has pledged to let T-Mo keep its pricing structure. T-Mobile is currently known to be the discount carrier among the four major U.S. operators with plans currently 15% to 50% cheaper than ones on AT&T, according to a study by the Consumers Union.

AT&T’s man-in-charge Randall Stephenson assured lawmakers that local and smaller carriers like Metro PCS and Leap Wireless will keep the market competitive. Stephenson clarified that the deal is “about keeping up with consumer demand. It’s about giving consumers what they expect — fewer dropped calls, faster speeds and access to state-of-the-art mobile broadband Internet service.” What's your opinion about the biggest merger in the mobile industry? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below.

source: Washington Post

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posted on 27 May 2011, 09:58 1

1. BestIdeaEver (unregistered)


AT&T taking over T-mobile is the greatest idea ever! This will give more people better coverage and access to the fastest intenert speeds possible. This will allow for the use of Quad Core phones and will produce amazing apps and programs that will make use of the new speeds! Rural areas will be able to get coverage and even the poor, low credit people on T-mo will be able to keep their "no credit having" plans!

Amazing deal!

posted on 27 May 2011, 10:32 3

3. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


You think too highly of AT&T. When was the last time they really worked for their customers? And don't be so sure that they will let T-Mobile customers keep their plans forever. Sprint/Nextel Merger is a great example of that not happening...

posted on 27 May 2011, 12:34 1

15. bonesb (unregistered)


I’ve had the same ATTWS>Cingular>ATTWS number since 97. They do need help with their network, but they offer about the best coverage in the PNW - their phones work dozens of miles away from the nearest CDMA tower in lots of places (I carry a VZW phone too for work).

My ATTWS plan is a grandfathered 450 minute FP that I’ve had for 6 years, and with their adopted rollover from the Cingular assimilation my family’s got over 80 hours of rollover time - we use a lot of M2M minutes, and we’ve upgraded our devices several times without one request to change out the plan. They’ve credited my account several times when I had a valid gripe, and VZW just offers an Uh-huh and a "we’ll get around to it” when there’s voice quality problems in my area. So, my personal experience with ATTWS isn’t perfect, but it’s nothing like the FUD you’re offering.

posted on 27 May 2011, 12:58 2

17. Scourge (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 May 2011)


From what I understand, AT&T will only allow the T-mo users to keep their plans until the end of the contract, then forced to an AT&T plan. Not sure if thats fact or not, but makes sense and sounds like something that's extremely likely from a big merger like this may be.

I'm absolutely no fan of T-Mobile or AT&T, and what most of you would call a VZW fanboy or whatever, but as far as my opinion, i'm speaking strictly as an unbiased consumer point of view when it comes to the carriers.

I'm generally not a big fan of mergers, be it with wireless providers or anything else, and from what i've seen it is typically detrimental to the economics of that particular area of sales. For example, if any of you are familiar with home security, ADT Security recently purchased brinks/broadview, and massively tilted the percentage of system owners to one provider. There is no top-tier playing field for security systems now, and the pricing of the service goes up, and up... and up... just because ADT doesn't have to compete anymore. The name sells itself. Back to the wireless providers, Top-tier competition I would consider VZW, ATT, T-MO, and Sprint. Tmo gets absorbed by the 2nd largest, becoming the largest and therefore reduces the competion. "In addition, statistics further back the monopoly point as after the deal 8 out of 10 handsets in the States will carry either the AT&T or the Verizon logo." as stated above proves my point about the name brands, the little guys have no chance of growing as a company against these monsters. 80% is a massive amount of people just with a 50-50 choice between carriers.

Sorry for being long winded. My Bad. heh

posted on 27 May 2011, 18:56 2

19. @JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Just to add to this, even if they do let you keep the same plans I think it's kinda funny that Tmo has already jacked up their pricing. I also love how they claim that the still have true unlimited data... 2gb then throttled down to 2g speeds. Can anyone say hello dial-up. I work for Verizon and the path that every carrier is eventually going to take is tiered data, I just hope that its not a lousy 2gb. I dont think I'm on my data that much but my average usage has sky rocketed (avg 350 MB prior to thunderbolt 2.6 GB after) I only occasionally used youtube or streamed video due to 3g speeds buffering, but now that whatever i wanna watch is there instantly Ive been using it a lot more. As far as Verizon goes, we do need to focus more on customer service and get our A+ ratings back... Get service back up and when we go to tiered data give us a reasonable amount please. Not some silly 2GB then talk up features like Netflix, Skype, Hulu etc... and expect us to stay within our limits

posted on 28 May 2011, 18:08 1

26. hellosies (unregistered)


In all definitions of the term 'unlimited', t-mos plans are TRULY unlimited. In theory, you could browse the internet all day every day on t-mos plans and never be charged a cent outside of your regulated data charge. Granted your speeds will vary, but the term 'unlimited' in no way refers to speed.

Secondly, t-mo has released a plethora of plans that have different regulated 'caps' if you will. a 200mb, 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB. To be completely honest, if you're hitting a 10GB cap in one month and you're not tethering, you've gotta slow your roll.

posted on 27 May 2011, 10:35 1

4. remixfa (Posts: 14178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


umm how does a merger affect how many cores are in a phone? they are already slated for release this year or early next... regardless of the merger.. and on multiple carriers.

Tmobile is faster than ATT and they want to dismantle Tmobile to use its bandwith for LTE which is actually slower than HSPA+ on tmobile at this point. SO.. faster speeds? not for a few years anyways until LTE starts getting upgraded. It will be SLOWER.

Eventually those plans will be phased out and your choice will be expencive ass ATT or crap ass coverage through metro with only Sprint as an in between.

Most of ATT and TMobile's coverage overlaps. While it will be stronger coverage in many places and have a little more area, it will be a minor difference in the over all coverage map. This deal is not to "cover" more people. Its not even a real highlight of the deal. Most of Tmobile will actually be split among other carriers as The deal only allows for the "new" ATT to have only so much % coverage of the population.. i believe its like 95%.. which they are almost at.


so to recap, the deal will reduce competion, make availible internet SLOWER (at least for the first few years), it will more than likely slow down the LTE upgrade process to faster speeds as there is less competition to worry about, it will make plans more expencive in the long run, and it will reduce reasons to do things like not lock down phones and features or reduce pricing.

yup, thats a great deal to me............................................ no not really.

posted on 27 May 2011, 11:01 1

6. ChrisTheTechGuy (Posts: 85; Member since: 04 Nov 2010)


hspa+ suggested speeds are higher. in the test world they are all about equal. if only hspa+ was a new technology instead of carriers realizing they can just tweak existing equip to work better. as for the comment of quadcore devices, lets make sure all dual-core devices are coming out at a steady pace without having issues before saying quads are slated for this year/early next.

posted on 27 May 2011, 11:33 2

9. remixfa (Posts: 14178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


in the last real world speed test by PC magazine, Tmobile barely edged out verizon. That was when tmobile was at 21mb/s and verizon was running 30mbs LTE. This last week Tmobile launched 42mb/s HSPA+ so there should be a much more pronounced difference in real world speeds. Tmobile already has HSPA+ on a 84mb/s upgrade path by this time next year while there is no known announcement by either ATT or VZW to go past the 30mb/s LTE speeds any time soon (though eventually LTE will be the faster tech)

posted on 27 May 2011, 12:46

16. bonesb (unregistered)


I’d surmised the OP was alluding to "quad-band” WCDMA devices, even though some of the newer Nokia devices are showing up with penta-band WCDMA chips. That written, I don’t agree much with you on the coverage thing either. I’ve some family members living in rural OR and rural WA, and TMo is the ONLY cellular provider showing up with high-speed cellular data and new equipment in years - my mom lives in the 98647 area and it’s been nothing but 1X USCC and ATTWS GPRS over microwave since forever, but TMo turned on WDMA in a huge swath several weeks ago, covering thousands of rural residents with data speeds and voice quality that shame ATTWS, VZW (roaming), and USCC - who have had at least 7 years head start and they have done nothing in that timeframe to upgrade their existing networks. I just can’t agree with you, and TMo is having financial problems - so, what, let the clusterfsck that is SPCS try to assimilate yet another incompatible network that offers no real expansion of their network footprint? Whatever.

posted on 27 May 2011, 11:29

7. clevername (Posts: 1431; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Now this was tongue in cheek. Lol. Awesome too. I hope the other guy takes note

Jeff and remixes this was humor. He wasn't serious. Take it and laugh.

posted on 27 May 2011, 11:34

10. remixfa (Posts: 14178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


something tells me.. it might not have been.. lol some people really think that way.

posted on 27 May 2011, 21:48 2

20. What? (unregistered)


What in the world? So a merger between the 2 companies will introduce Quad Core phones and amazing apps? I believe the amazing apps will mostly come from programmers and the quad core phones will come from all carriers. Not just one company. A merger does not make for innovative tech. The phone manufacturers do. Also low credit people do not have a problem with T-Mobile. That's the reason they have those rate plans. What benefit will come when they lose the ability to have a phone they want with a price point they want? AT&T will surely NOT allow T-Mobile users to keep their current rate plans for longer than the contract they signed on with; then they would need to switch to a plan the AT&T would be offering. This buy out makes no sense to me.

posted on 27 May 2011, 10:15 2

2. kg4icg (Posts: 69; Member since: 18 May 2008)


Someone has been sniffing to much glue.

posted on 27 May 2011, 10:59

5. jacky_luvsjrod (Posts: 53; Member since: 26 May 2010)


Well I kinda want it to go tru. I had T-Mobile a g2x. And it sucks that I had to cancel my contact because I couldn't get reception inside my loft in downtown La. I really liked T-Mobiles plans. So I got at&t an atrix I now get full reception inside my loft. I hate atts ridiculous plans I admit I hate them so much But at least I can now make calls.I know someone will get mad at me for saying this. But its the truth, T-Mobile may work were u live, but over here in La it sucks. I had all the companies on sprint I had an evo, on Verizon a bb storm 2 ,T-Mobile a g2x and att an atrix. Sprint also sucked but it still worked better inside buildings than t-mobile. Over if ur in a highrise building and u get stuck in an elevator and u have T-Mobile forget it ur screwed cuz most likely u wont have signal. I noticed that over here the only way to go if u want to have the best signal is at&t or Verizon. The bad thing is there the most expensive companies. But ey atleast they work.

posted on 27 May 2011, 11:30

8. Superguy (unregistered)


I think some sarcasm meters are broken.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:42 1

18. Metalpoet Droid X (unregistered)


At&t has horrible service, t-mobile has horrible service but they have a hot model representing them in commercials and they have affordable plans. Verizon has fantastic service and awesome phones but horrible customer service and they rape people on there cell phone bills every month, and sprint is just sitting there taking a beating cuz there services and phones and plans suck! lol Just let the government controls all four companies and making it "United States of America Wireless" lol

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