AT&T CEO Stephenson: We didn't execute well on the T-Mobile deal

AT&T CEO Stephenson: We didn't execute well on the T-Mobile deal
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, in a recent interview, admitted that one of the worst times of his tenure at the nation's second largest carrier, was when AT&T offered $39 billion to buy T-Mobile. "I wouldn't say it was a bad decision, but it was a decision that didn't go the way I wanted," said the executive, who added that, "We didn't execute well." With the DOJ filing a suit to block the acquisition, AT&T responded by saying that MetroPCS, Cricket and U.S. Cellular were more of a challenge than T-Mobile. AT&T, noting that T-Mobile had lost customers during a "robust" business climate, said that acquiring the nation's fourth largest carrier  would not give them a competitive advantage. Eventually, AT&T decided to walk away from the deal, paying the $4 billion bust-up fee.

Stephenson said that one of his best decisions was to follow Verizon's rejection and pick up the Apple iPhone. Stephenson remembers asking Stan Sigman, then-CEO of Cingular Wireless and a big supporter of Apple's device, whether he was betting on the market, the device or Steve Jobs. The answer was the latter, and Stephenson says that time has proven it to have been a great decision. Not that AT&T didn't suffer some scars from its period of exclusivity with the Apple iPhone in the U.S. The AT&T network took quite a beating from data hungry users who were just beginning to understand the advantages of mining for data on a smartphone.

The AT&T executive also took some time to make a guess on what Dish Chairman Charles Ergen will do with all of the spectrum that Dish Network has amassed. Stephenson believes that Dish will partner with another company to build out an LTE Advanced pipeline using the 40 MHz of S-Band spectrum that it owned for satellite use, rebranded as AWS-4 for terrestrial mobile use. Dish also has an indication of interest in to buy Clearwire at $3.30 per share, more than $2.97 that Sprint is bidding for the rest of the shares of the company that it doesn't own.

Speaking of spectrum, Stephenson would like to see the government auction off some more of the sweet stuff. He notes that AT&T was the first carrier to require OEMs to include a Wi-Fi client on their phones in order to move traffic off of licensed spectrum and notes how important it is to give customers a chance to save money by offering a Wi-Fi connection.

source: FierceWireless

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18 Comments

1. richardyarrell2011

Posts: 510; Member since: Mar 16, 2011

Thank God that deal didn't take place. T-Mobile is much better off without At&t

2. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I agree, Without Tmo to fall back on, if Verizon goes too far I'd have no place to go!

16. archangel9

Posts: 233; Member since: Feb 07, 2010

I agree too. Now TMo is in better position to make major plays...GNote 2 coming soon to me in T.G.

3. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

It's because lots of T-MOBILE customers don't want AT&T B.S. too mess up their data package have them force too change their plans or hidden fees. like me I have at&t and LOST MY UNLIMITED DATA. dumb morons. Now I'm suffering with my CAP DATA since they got rid of our unlimited data ever since they lost all those cash they spent.

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"Now I'm suffering with my CAP DATA since they got rid of our unlimited data ever since they lost all those cash they spent." AT&T has to cover the $4B bust-up fee somehow. You didn't really expect them to take one for their customers, now, did you?

8. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

If you lost your unlimited data it's your own dumb fault. They continue to grandfather customers forward on various plans and features, unlimited data included. Only way to lose it is to opt for a different plan or if you went to a crummy authorized retailer doe your upgrade and they didn't know how to carry it over to the new phone.

10. galanoth

Posts: 428; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

How did you lose your unlimited data? AT&T doesn't make you switch to a tiered data plan. If you had unlimited before tiered data plans came into effect, you were able to stay on it. I've used about 5 different phones on AT&T's network since the removal of unlimited data plans and they haven't made me switch yet.

13. idroidequis

Posts: 103; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

If you went and upgraded at a AT&T store they will make it seem like you have to change your unlimited plan. Thats why Ive been upgrading at best for the last 6 years. Work there a couple years back and unlike at the AT&T store they dont care if you upgrade your plans and wouldnt mind making a call to keep your old plan. Just gotta ask. I personally had no conflicts with AT&T. Even when my brother dropped his phone in a lake he called customer service and they told him they would add a theft plan on him and told him to call back in a month and report it stolen and got a brand new phone.

5. 412East

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

This dude looks like The Joker

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Thats cause he is The Joker

15. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

LOL. I'd say pretty close to the Ceasar Romero version from the 60's.

7. g2a5b0e unregistered

They didn't execute well? That's the reason he gives?! Seriously?! What an ass clown. No amount of proper execution would have made that deal happen. The FCC saw right through the farce of a reason they gave for wanting to acquire T-Mobile. They wanted to spend $39 billion to acquire T-Mobile when the upgrades they say they needed T-Mobile to make would have cost them less than a third of that. Eliminate the competition & keep rolling. That's what they tried to do. F**k them.

9. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

"Didn't execute properly" may translate to "didn't bribe or counter-bribe the right officials"

12. g2a5b0e unregistered

Right on that. Assholes. The world of mobile technology in the US is already close enough to a duopoly with Verizon & AT&T sharing 70% of the market. Had that deal went through, that number would have skyrocketed to over 80%. Fuck that. I like choice. AT&T losing that battle was definitely a win for the good guys.

14. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

LOL. I totally agree and have from day one. I really respect your unbridled passion, LOL.

17. g2a5b0e unregistered

Thanks, man.

11. DSmithee unregistered

I think AT&T executed quite well on this deal. ;)

18. archangel9

Posts: 233; Member since: Feb 07, 2010

It was a win for everybody except AT&T. Had them done that.Loving TMobile now.And that merger w/Metro PCS is going to get done and will be better for everybody to keep these 2 (VZW/ATT)honest.

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