One of the big motives for AT&T to merge with T-Mobile was that AT&T needed T-Mobile's resources in order to expand its faster LTE-based network from 80 percent of the country to 97 percent. At least, that is what AT&T is telling the public and government officials. However a document that was posted and then partly redacted on the Federal Communications Commission web site this week seems to show that argument for the merger is false.
As reported by DSLReports.com the note was posted by a law firm that represents AT&T. Part of the note admits that the cost of increasing AT&T's LTE coverage from 80 percent of the country to 97 percent would be a mere $3.8 billion. However AT&T is proposing that buying out T-Mobile would take a massive $39 billion based on the reason that it needs T-Mobile to make its huge LTE expansion possible. The article speculates that AT&T is really spending a lot of money just to eliminate a market competitor rather than spending it in an effort to expand its own network.
A lot of people, including some lawmakers, have been critical of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger proposal because if it goes through AT&T and its biggest rival Verizon Wireless would control most of the wireless phone service in the US. The merger is currently under investigation by the FCC and the Department of Justice. If the merger is approved it will likely take a while to officially close, perhaps as long as a year.