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AT&T/T-Mobile Merger 'Not In the Public Interest' 190

jfruhlinger writes "AT&T's plan to merge with T-Mobile just hit a pretty big snag. The FCC declared the merger would be anti-competitive and not in the public interest." According to the NY Times, the FCC seeks to hold a hearing before an administrative law judge in which the burden would be upon AT&T to prove the deal isn't anti-competitive.
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AT&T/T-Mobile Merger 'Not In the Public Interest'

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  • INEVITABLE MERGER (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @07:23PM (#38142620)

    Assuming AT&T can't by T-Mobile,who else is going to buy / merge with T-Mobile?
    The whole deal was based around AT&T hugely over paying for the benefit of reducing competition,
    other companies may well want to buy T-Mobile, it just doesn't make sense at the rate AT&T was paying.
    AT&T could even buy parts of T-Mobile, either network or spectrum, but if they can't get anything that reduces competition,
    then they have no reason to pay more than anybody else, and have an existing network that they can invest in without competing over bid price.

    T-Mobile really does need to grow by being acquired or a merger, in order to present real competition to AT&T. I think it will happen.

  • by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @07:26PM (#38142648)
    Mod parent up.
  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @07:30PM (#38142710)
    And CDMA works better in wide open spaces and GSM works better in populated areas. Is it any wonder that Sprint and Verizon rule the Southwest while AT&T rules the Northeast? Having the government choose a single standard would have been a mistake.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @07:30PM (#38142712) Homepage Journal

    The FCC's input in this is important, since its approval is required by law.

    The odds of the merger happening have dropped dramatically, though I think they were less than even before this.

  • by __aajwxe560 ( 779189 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @07:31PM (#38142718)
    While TMobile service languishes in some areas, as a subscriber of ~7 years (flipped in years ago after AT&T Cellular last went tits up), while their domestic service presence isn't quite as dominant as Verizon, I enjoy international travel with my cell and a respectable domestic rate versus the competitors that I continue to pray they don't get sucked into the vortex of Verizon, AT&T, and increasingly Sprint of all companies. I have no contract, pay $100 a month for two phones between my wife & I, unlimited text, plenty of voice, and unlimited data on one phone where this seems like a "bargain" (the rest of the developed world laughs at what I consider a good rate).

    What I enjoy for "landline" service (Ooma VOIP "free" $5 a year to cover taxes), the rest of the world enjoys a similar experience for wireless. TMobile seems like the black horse right now, and I rather see them follow through on a merger with Sprint than AT&T, mainly to bring back the third competitor in the pack similar to what was enjoyed in the late 80's/early 90's between MCI, AT&T, and Sprint. That set the bar for me personally where 3 competitors in telecom was a minimum number necessary for what I considered a truly competitive balance where they made their money and I felt I got value for my money. This is necessarily in the telecom space in my humble opinion with how things are looking. If a Verizon and AT&T duopoply were to happen .. watch Sprint disappear (as their coverage contract with Verizon "mysteriously" disappears and their coverage would suck worse than TMobile again) and rates suck ass across the board. The ability to enter the wireless market would continue to entertain higher barriers, so this would be difficult to overcome.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @08:03PM (#38143040)
    AT&T's incompetence doesn't necessarily mean that GSM is a bad implementation. It just means that AT&T sucks. I've had T-Mobile for a few years and it works fine in the populated areas I live in.
  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @08:17PM (#38143166)

    Yeah... there is no way you can seriously be arguing that the state Canadian telcoms are in is preferable what we have here in the US.

    Hmm. Let's see.... I can get a subsidized iPhone 4S on any plan combination of data and voice as long as it is at least 50 dollars per month and I can choose one of the following HSPA+ carriers: Rogers, Fido, Bell, Telus, Koodo, Virgin or one of several regional carriers if I happen to live in a couple of the provinces. Canada got unlocked iPhones a year before they became available in the US and several of the carriers offer unlocking either 90 days into the contract in good standing or at the end of the contract. I got my 4S subsidized on a 70 dollars per month plan that included 6GB of data (free tethering), 6pme evenings and weekends, 10 favourite numbers, unlimited texts/MMS and voice mail.

  • by don.g ( 6394 ) <[zn.gro.sid] [ta] [nod]> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @08:20PM (#38143198) Homepage

    2G GSM has limitiations due to the time-division nature of its air interface that makes covering large areas not work due to propogation delay. 3G GSM *is* CDMA. It covers large areas well at a lower frequency, but initial deployments were all at 2.1GHz which has issues with signal propogation (read: doesn't go through buildings/etc as well as sub 1GHz GSM).

    Minor nitpick: in the above I use "CDMA" to mean "Code-division multiple access", a generic description of the approach that the IS-95 and 1xRTT air interfaces use -- they are commonly referred to as CDMA, they're what sprint/verizon use/used, but there are other protocols that use that approach too.

  • by Faux_Pseudo ( 141152 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @10:25PM (#38144148) Homepage

    Alltel wasn't "regional". Rural would be more accurate. Can't really call something that was licensed in states from OR to CT "regional". While they only had 800,000 customers they also were the number one CDMA roaming partner for the carriers. I don't know for sure but I think they may have made more off their roaming agreements than their customer base. That was a major reason that VZW bought them.

    Sprint buying T-Mobile would earn Sprint the title as dumbest company ever. Their networks aren't compatible. It would be Sprint Nextel all over again.

  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:25PM (#38144488) Homepage Journal

    And before anyone trots out the "Marilyn Monroe was a size 16" bit of tripe, understand that 1960 size 16 is not the same size 16 as 2011.

  • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @03:57AM (#38146072)
    Did you just suggest that T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint or Verizon has a full national network?

    I just drove from New York City to Tampa Florida and back this summer. This is by far the most densely populated part of the country... straight down I95... I had a GSM phone with a T-Mobile card, another GSM phone with my Norwegian card (which bounces from network to network) and I had a Sprint phone which I bought a while back... between the three of them, I managed to have slightly better than despicable coverage while driving. Oh... I also had a T-Mobile 4G wireless modem.

    For nearly 50% of the trip, I had no Internet access. For about 80% of the trip, I couldn't get anything better than edge. For about 20% of the trip, voice was not available. For another 20% of the trip, the call quality was so shitty that there wasn't even any point of calling. In the many of the gigantic malls we stopped in (for food and air conditioning... it was July and my family is Norwegian... HOT!!!) we'd run around begging for wifi access from stores because 2G, 3G and 4G wouldn't work in the malls. Hell, I thought it was hilarious that the Best Buy where I bought the 4G modem didn't even have 4G access... or 3G... or 2G... or even respectable voice. Then later at a different mall, I stopped into a Radio Shack to get a T-Mobile refill card and I couldn't even use it until I drove 20 miles because I couldn't get internet access anywhere near there. Can you say Microcell?!?!?!

    Anyway, if the FCC gave a shit, they would not only let this happen, but they would also require that the PCS network was gradually replaced with a GSM network and that AT&T and Sprint should have to share access to their networks with each other so that the consumer would benefit. The FCC would then on top of that start providing funding to either of those companies or to smaller startups to build out the GSM network so that maybe one day, the U.S. might have better mobile phone service than most third world countries. .... P.S. - I know the U.S. is big... but when I drove from Oslo, through rural Sweden, through Rural Denmark, Rural Germany, Rural Luxembourg, Rural Belgium, and Rural France to Disney Paris 7 years ago, there wasn't a single point on that trip I didn't have good Internet access. I have also visited cabins in central Norway where the population density is approximately 1 person per 10km sq. and had no problem getting 3G and that was 3-4 years ago.
  • Re:I agree (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @04:32AM (#38146252)
    Right, because fatasses are only found in America. How come when blatant insults are hurled regarding someone's nationality, they get -1 - unless it happens to be America, in which case it's +5? Really, there was absolutely *nothing* insightful about that comment.

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.