iPhone headed to T-Mobile customers? Not so Fast!
According to a press release out Sunday, AT&T has acquired T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for a $39 billion cash-and-stock transaction. This will include a $25 billion cash payout with the rest being sold in stocks.
What does this mean for the 33.7 million T-Mobile wireless customers? There are no immediate changes as AT&T announced that the deal could take up to one year to finalize. But this of course could mean that T-Mobile customers may soon get their iPhone wishes.
Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO said, “It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people…During the past few years, America’s high-tech industry has delivered innovation at unprecedented speed, and this combination will accelerate its continued growth.”
AT&T, the nation’s 2nd largest wireless provider, says that its customers will notice drastic service improvements as a result of this acquisition because of increased cell tower density and a more improved and broad network infrastructure. AT&T will take over all of T-Mobile’s cell sites to which, according to AT&T would have “taken on average five years to build without the transaction.” This is will allow AT&T to focus on being more competitive in the market and offer better services to its customers instead of worrying about constructing additional cell towers.
Also, according to AT&T, “AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA… provides an opportunity to improve network quality in the near term for both companies’ customers.” AT&T is planning on expanding their 4GLTE coverage (coverage that T-Mobile had no means or plans to provide) to include 95% of the U.S. population with an additional 46.5 million Americans being added. This will help AT&T be in compliance with the FCC and President Obama’s goal of connecting every American to “the digital age” and vamping up the U.S.’ digital infrastructure.
AT&T plans to launch 4GLTE this year following Verizon Wireless’ recent announcement to expand 4GLTE to several more cities in the U.S. market.
This transaction also comes several days after rumors spouted that Sprint Nextel was in the works to buy T-Mobile USA. Sprint has been the nation’s 3rd largest wireless provider for several years now and this move would only make them lag further behind.
So is this really as great as AT&T makes it up to be? What will this do to cell-phone innovation, other than the iPhone? Will T-Mobile customers have to pay increased service fees? Does this mean that T-Mobile customers will have to wave goodbye to their unlimited data plans? How does AT&T plan on solving all these issues? We have the next year or so to find out.