AT&T: First quarter 2012 for T-Mobile merger approval

AT&T is looking to get final approval for its proposed merger with wireless phone provider T-Mobile by sometime in the first quarter of 2012. Reuters reports that AT&T's General Counsel Wayne Watts has said that the government approval process for the merger have been moving along "exactly as we expected".  The merger, which is expected to be worth $39 billion, needs the approval of both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.

Last Monday was the final day that people could turn in their comments to the FCC on their opinions of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger which would combine the first and fourth biggest wireless companies in the US. The nation's third biggest wireless phone provider, Sprint, made one last push on Monday to convince the FCC to not approve this merger. As Techno Buffalo points out Sprint claims that AT&T can improve its wireless network by a whopping 600 percent without the need to purchase T-Mobile. Sprint claims that AT&T can convert its existing network to the faster 4G LTE protocol as well as install macro and small cell transmitters to improve the network's design, among other efforts.

As far as T-Mobile, it also sent out an email giving its own side of the AT&T merger proposal, saying that the merger's foes have offered no "credible arguments" in their comments to the FCC to support their position. It added that, "As part of their application, AT&T and T-Mobile provided a compelling showing of their need for more spectrum to continue to provide quality service to customers and roll out new technologies in the future." T-Mobile believes that the merger of its company and AT&T is "by far the best way to solve this problem and ensure improved service and enhanced innovation."

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What people are overlooking is that T-Mobile is likely not going to be around for another 5 yrs anyway. It is clear that the parent company has wanted to get rid of it because it can't raise the capital to invest in fixing holes in their service, holes that are causing customers to leave already.

The merger can be a great thing for both T-Mobile and AT&T customers by leveraging existing infrastrcture to rapidly improve both networks.

This is not truly a monpoloy and that is a very short-sighted analysis of the market. Customers are leaving T-Mobile today. Alot of existing customers are scared of this merger and likely to leave after the merger if they don't see benefits or prices increase. In a free market, this means customers will be the final impact on whether AT&T gets close to monoply status. You will still have 2 major competitors and several small players that can shake up the market through innovation.

Forcing the FCC to deny the merger will only weaken the wireless industry as AT&T will take longer to build their networks and T-Mobile will try and stay in the game, but likely lose. Then, Verizon can strengthen it's position and have the same power that everyone fears of AT&T today.

A great example of this is AT&T itself with the Bellsouth merger. The fear was a huge monopoly, but yet in many areas, they are not very competitive because internet speeds are still DSL 6Mbps vs Comcast at 22Mbps and above. There is Uverse, but its still has alot of holes in coverage. Comcast has a compelling offer of very fast internet, cable, and phone service that is often cheaper than trying to pick and choose from other providers.

The market is very dynamic and alot of things can still change.

libertas83 said,
What people are overlooking is that T-Mobile is likely not going to be around for another 5 yrs anyway. It is clear that the parent company has wanted to get rid of it because it can't raise the capital to invest in fixing holes in their service, holes that are causing customers to leave already.

The merger can be a great thing for both T-Mobile and AT&T customers by leveraging existing infrastrcture to rapidly improve both networks.

This is not truly a monpoloy and that is a very short-sighted analysis of the market. Customers are leaving T-Mobile today. Alot of existing customers are scared of this merger and likely to leave after the merger if they don't see benefits or prices increase. In a free market, this means customers will be the final impact on whether AT&T gets close to monoply status. You will still have 2 major competitors and several small players that can shake up the market through innovation.

Forcing the FCC to deny the merger will only weaken the wireless industry as AT&T will take longer to build their networks and T-Mobile will try and stay in the game, but likely lose. Then, Verizon can strengthen it's position and have the same power that everyone fears of AT&T today.

A great example of this is AT&T itself with the Bellsouth merger. The fear was a huge monopoly, but yet in many areas, they are not very competitive because internet speeds are still DSL 6Mbps vs Comcast at 22Mbps and above. There is Uverse, but its still has alot of holes in coverage. Comcast has a compelling offer of very fast internet, cable, and phone service that is often cheaper than trying to pick and choose from other providers.

The market is very dynamic and alot of things can still change.

Exactly! AT&T-Mobile will not be a complete monopoly. It may be a monopoly on nationwide GSM services, but there are plenty of other carriers out there (i.e. Sprint, Verizon, Cricket, MetroPCS, and all the other super-regionals and regional carriers). In fact, most of the small regional carriers I've seen in the US *are* GSM carriers. I believe that Sprint is making a premature complaint. With all of the people out there that are terrified of an AT&T-Mobile merger, Sprint could make a killing! They could see new activations by the thousands! If anything, I think they could stand to gain a lot from this. I, personally, am looking forward to this as a long-time AT&T subscriber. My service has always been great in 99% of the places I go. This merger would make it that much better.

I am so sick of these cell phone companies I am about to just hang it up (no pun intended) and get a cheap pay-as-you-go phone, Sprint is ok but their 3G sucks, Verizon just added data caps, AT&T is turning into a monopoly and they already had horrible service to begin with, I guess lucky me I just signed up with Verizon and got a thunderbolt just in time before data caps go into place, then again I still have 5 days left of my 14 day trial, I should just bail while I still can and be done with it.

Order_66 said,
I am so sick of these cell phone companies I am about to just hang it up (no pun intended) and get a cheap pay-as-you-go phone, Sprint is ok but their 3G sucks, Verizon just added data caps, AT&T is turning into a monopoly and they already had horrible service to begin with, I guess lucky me I just signed up with Verizon and got a thunderbolt just in time before data caps go into place, then again I still have 5 days left of my 14 day trial, I should just bail while I still can and be done with it.

Verizon will grandfather the unlimited plans for existing customers, even if you upgrade your phone. New activations that take place after the switch will have to sign up for the capped plans. Please don't use Neowin as your only source. They are often a day or two behind the rest of the tech news blogs.

pyehac said,
I'll miss my Samsung Galaxy S 4G phone if this goes through. Heck, I'll miss GSM all together.

Umm wut? AT&T and T-Mobile both use GSM, they just happen to use different frequencies for GPRS (the data portion) which is why if you take an unlocked iPhone and stick a T-Mobile SIM in it, you only get EDGE. They are also both rolling out LTE. As others have said on this thread, this merge is a good thing.

runningnak3d said,

Umm wut? AT&T and T-Mobile both use GSM, they just happen to use different frequencies for GPRS (the data portion) which is why if you take an unlocked iPhone and stick a T-Mobile SIM in it, you only get EDGE. They are also both rolling out LTE. As others have said on this thread, this merge is a good thing.

I think he is implying that he will move to CDMA.

runningnak3d said,

Umm wut? AT&T and T-Mobile both use GSM, they just happen to use different frequencies for GPRS (the data portion) which is why if you take an unlocked iPhone and stick a T-Mobile SIM in it, you only get EDGE. They are also both rolling out LTE. As others have said on this thread, this merge is a good thing.

They both use the same frequency bands for GSM and GPRS and EDGE. They use different frequency bands for 3G WCDMA/UMTS/HSPA. AT&T use 850/1900 for 3G while T-Mobile use the AWS bands (1700/2100) for 3G.

Some of you need to provide a valid argument as to why you don't think this should happen, rather than just because you don't like AT&T or T-Mobile. As an AT&T customer I'd love to see my carrier get more spectrum to work with, but I honestly don't see anything bad about the deal. Sprint wants to make it look like they can't survive if they merge, but Sprint just seems to be incredibly lazy and doesn't want to do too much work to compete. Sprint needs to spend their time stepping up their game rather than complaining.

FCC sent query to AT&T asking why AT&T needs more spectrum when it already has the most of any wireless carrier in the US. It also does remove one of the largest wireless carriers of the big four...

AJerman said,
Some of you need to provide a valid argument as to why you don't think this should happen, rather than just because you don't like AT&T or T-Mobile. As an AT&T customer I'd love to see my carrier get more spectrum to work with, but I honestly don't see anything bad about the deal. Sprint wants to make it look like they can't survive if they merge, but Sprint just seems to be incredibly lazy and doesn't want to do too much work to compete. Sprint needs to spend their time stepping up their game rather than complaining.

I guess one carrier having a monopoly on GSM in the US isn't good enough?

This will get approved. That is why AT&T guaranteed T-mobile billions if it wasn't. You don't do that unless you already secured a yes from the regulators on the back channel.

Ican't believe this is going to happen i hate att and the service even the customer support , right now my provide is att but my contract of 2 year end already but i just waring for the new iPhone to outcome but iam going to move to T-mobile soon and i love the new HTC sensation 4G from T-mobile. what i like is that HTC Sensation™ 4G is T-Mobile's first 4.3" display with super high definition (950 x 540). Colors seem to pop off the massive screen and with With a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 1.2-GHz dual-core processor !! , plus Android 2.3 with HTC Sense!! oh Yeah baby.!

RangerLG said,
Please FCC and JD, do the right thing and deny this merger.

I Second that. AT&T can definitley improve their network, and one of the two (FCC I think) already sent out a query to AT&T asking why when they already have the largest amount of spectrum, why they need more.