AT&T: T-Mobile 3G phones will need to be replaced

After word that AT&T had entered into a definitive agreement to buy T-Mobile USA, the company stated today that all T-Mobile customers that are using 3G phones will need to replace their handsets if the deal ever comes to close.

T-Mobile yesterday updated its website to communicate what the acquisition meant for its customers. They said that the two carriers would run as independent companies until the merger is completed and that all contracts entered into before it was would be honored, especially in terms of pricing. This was only a few short hours after AT&T announced that it had agreed to buy T-Mobile USA, as reported by Neowin.

In a statement, via the Associated Press, AT&T said that when the deal closes (expected in 12 months) they would rearrange how T-Mobile's cell towers work to repurpose 3G airwaves for 4G. It would mean that current T-Mobile 3G phones, which aren't compatible with AT&T's 3G airwaves, would need to be replaced either with 4G phones or ones that can be used with AT&T's 3G.

Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's head of wireless and consumer service, said "there's nothing for [consumers] to worry about" since the transition of T-Mobile's cell towers would take several years. He said it will happen as part of the normal phone upgrade process.

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As usual, they want you to spend more money on something that should be included in the merger, new phones for free but the bill will maybe be 5 bucks higher to compensate. now that is fair if you ask me.

I still think it's incredible that mobile providers in the USA all seem to operate with different technology. It's counter-intuitive and confusing for customers, and just complicates the switching process between carriers. Can't somebody over there enforce some kind of standard?

Here in the UK we have 5 or 6 big mobile operators, all compatible with each other in terms of the type of signal technology. That means all mobile phones work on all networks, and you can switch at will (contracts permitting). No multiple models of iPhone here, thank you sir.

That's a lie. Almost ANy T-Mobile 3G capable phone can be made to work on ATT's network, all it requires is a baseband unlock and the proper SIM card Telling the device what to do.

Fact - A jailbroken iPhone 4 from ATT can be made to work on T-Mobile. The [rpblem is some data based features like SMS won't work right away, but theer are fixes in place that make texting and data features work. All the phones makers would have to do is update the phones with a software or firmware update.

They just dont want too and will levae it al up to you. Hopefully, ATT will offer you all a sweet deal to buy their phones since they dont want to reprogram them. I'd say, its a good idea to just jump ship now if you can or look online for an ATT phone at a better cost. eBay is a good place to start.

AT&T says we can keep our T-Mobile plans (which are MUCH cheaper), but then say we're going to need a new phone to use the data network. And know what? They'll give you a deal on the new phone but you'll then need to get a new plan, meaning higher price every month.

A total FU to the consumer all around. This really sucks.

Hmmm, I find this a little fishy. I know people that have unlocked iPhones running on T-Mobiles sim cards, ie running on T-Mobile and I knew a few people running T-Mobile phones on AT&T sim cards. Since when did the two become incompatible? This screams a scam for AT&T to screw over T-Mobile customers.

I could understand if it was Sprint and T-Mobile merging (like was hinted at a couple weeks ago) as they are 2 completely different technologies. I've been an AT&T customer for almost 10 years now, and I have had no problems what so ever. However, I don't like it when they try to hurt new customers that have no choice, except to switch a new provider. Not cool at all.

Drugar said,
Hmmm, I find this a little fishy. I know people that have unlocked iPhones running on T-Mobiles sim cards, ie running on T-Mobile and I knew a few people running T-Mobile phones on AT&T sim cards. Since when did the two become incompatible? This screams a scam for AT&T to screw over T-Mobile customers.

I could understand if it was Sprint and T-Mobile merging (like was hinted at a couple weeks ago) as they are 2 completely different technologies. I've been an AT&T customer for almost 10 years now, and I have had no problems what so ever. However, I don't like it when they try to hurt new customers that have no choice, except to switch a new provider. Not cool at all.

The calling features works. It is the data that operate on different frequencies. I am a T-Mobile customer and when I had an unlocked iPhone 3G, I could only get Edge on the T-Mobile network.

actually, I wonder if this means they (current 3g offerings) just would not operate under 3G speeds and be forced to work as EDGE

I would assume there would be a transition phase. Similar to how it was when sprint overtook nextel, I would highly doubt that in 12 months all 3g phone users would be required to upgrade their handsets...

Although, I will be purchasing an iPhone once/if this merger occurs so I don't really care, but if they are forcing w/out the transition period then something is severely wrong.

SaltLife said,
I would assume there would be a transition phase. Similar to how it was when sprint overtook nextel, I would highly doubt that in 12 months all 3g phone users would be required to upgrade their handsets...

Although, I will be purchasing an iPhone once/if this merger occurs so I don't really care, but if they are forcing w/out the transition period then something is severely wrong.

It looks to be a roll out over time. Question is though, will AT&T let that area of people know that their phones are about to become inoperable, or will customer have to find out the hard way and realize the switch happened when their phones stopped working?

Currently i have-a cheap family plan, cheap 5GB data plan(throttled after 5gb+) and awesome customer service team that seem to show that they care that i've been with T-mobile since they came over to USA and bought Voicestream.
Family has Two Nexus one that was bought out of contract for cash; friend of mine has nexus one as well, all 3 of us would need to replace a good working phone within a year because of this stupid deal...
=/

Yeah, I'm going to replace 3 very new blackberries (got a great deal on all three lines with T-mobile). I don't think so, AT&Turd.

If this passes, I will go Sprint or Verizon. AT&T better give FREE phones to those still using the 3g ones. And free phone of their choice.

techbeck said,
If this passes, I will go Sprint or Verizon. AT&T better give FREE phones to those still using the 3g ones. And free phone of their choice.

If you go Verizon, what are you looking at getting, if you mind sharing

what about some1 thats out of contract on tmo since 08... what will happen? the plan on tmo i had since compussr went oob @ 29.99/m 300minutes with 100 txt messages

Yeah, they will make me get a new at&t phone, but you know dam well they will require you to get an at&t plan and give up your t-mobile one. Easy way to get everybody off of t-mobile data plans and on 2gb data plans with overages. FML

Shet. AT&T was considered two years in a row, as the worst carrier. I thought they were going to use both: T-Mobile and AT&T's coverages, but I think I'm wrong.....

Well... I'm not seeing this succesfully taking off....

Jose_49 said,
Shet. AT&T was considered two years in a row, as the worst carrier. I thought they were going to use both: T-Mobile and AT&T's coverages, but I think I'm wrong.....

Well... I'm not seeing this succesfully taking off....

They will be using T-Mobile's AWS bands for LTE.

Tech Star said,
Hopefully this does not go through.

I'm sure the Gov will let it go through cause it seems they always do. I just left Verizon for TMobile in December to get the Dell Venue Pro. My Venue Pro is the ONLY reason why I left Verizon. Now ATT is gonna swoop in and make my brand new phone obsolete? Thats bull****! Now, if ATT reimburses me for phone or can find a way to make it work on their network in the same way as it currently does im fine. However, any attempt to sell me an Android iPhone device will not make me happy. In that case I should be released from my contract without penalty.

With any luck fed approval will drag out for a year and subsequently switching over customers another year then it will be moot point for me.

"Now ATT is gonna swoop in and make my brand new phone obsolete? Thats bull****!"

Forgive me, but by the time the deal goes through (12 months) and the upgrade happens, (transition of T-Mobile's cell towers would take several years) your phone will already be obsolete. Not trying to start a argument, just stating it as I see it.

Dale said,
"Now ATT is gonna swoop in and make my brand new phone obsolete? Thats bull****!"

Forgive me, but by the time the deal goes through (12 months) and the upgrade happens, (transition of T-Mobile's cell towers would take several years) your phone will already be obsolete. Not trying to start a argument, just stating it as I see it.

Maybe you're really not trying to start an argument, but considering that fact that I acknowledged what you said in my last sentence it kinda makes me think you are trying to start an argument!

NPGMBR said,

Maybe you're really not trying to start an argument, but considering that fact that I acknowledged what you said in my last sentence it kinda makes me think you are trying to start an argument!

maybe i'm starting a argument then.. your right, blast away..