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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