AT&T CFO John Stephens this week stated that AT&T would be "surprised" if the government allowed Sprint to acquire T-Mobile so soon after the government blocked AT&T's attempted takeover of the company. "It would be interesting to see if the government varies from that," Stephens told attendees of this week's Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference
, adding that he would be "surprising today if they changed or reversed that opinion." AT&T this week also stated they've temporarily shelved their overseas expansion ambitions, though they failed to mention that a big part of that is European regulators' discomfort at the telco's close relationship to the NSA
While AT&T has been winning most of the recent LTE speed tests
, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has recently been promising that will soon change. The company is in the process of migrating to 2x10MHz channels to speed up LTE connectivity, and early indications were that they were starting to nip at AT&T's heels in terms of speed, after spending the last few months hitting AT&T in terms of pricing.
T-Mobile recently announced they'd be paying families' ETFs if they were willing to switch from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to T-Mobile (though AT&T tried to take the bloom off the rose with a pre-emptive announcement of their own
). Now T-Mobile says they're expanding the program to include other carriers. The company tells Re/Code
that they'll soon offer the credit to customers under contract at dozen of smaller carriers. "This is not just a promotion," T-Mobile marketing chief Mike Sievert says of the company's promotion. "What we are trying to do is bring an end to unfair one-way onerous contracts in this country."
The purchase will not impact Verizon Wireless coverage as it's unused (hoarded) spectrum in the 700 megahertz band. It will expand T-Mobile's footprint and coverage, as the licenses cover about 150 million people, including major areas such as New York and Los Angeles. It'll cost about 3.3 billion dollars, plus estimated costs of 1 billion to integrate and deploy the spectrum.
The deal is expected to close around midyear, and is subject to regulatory approval.
Sprint isn't the only company considering an acquisition of T-Mobile in 2014
. According to an exclusive Reuters
report, Dish is also considering a possible acquisition of the disruptive magenta-hued carrier sometime next year. Several sources tell Reuters Dish hasn't entirely decided on a bid, but "does not intend to sit on the sidelines if Sprint does bid for T-Mobile." Dish is on the heels of failed acquisition bids of both Sprint and Clearwire, and has long expressed interest in running their own LTE network. Their acquisition attempt would be more likely to pass regulatory scrutiny since it wouldn't be eliminating one of the major four wireless carriers.
Verizon is close to nearing a deal that would involve selling the company's lower 700 MHz A Block spectrum to T-Mobile. According to Bloomberg
, the deal, which is expected to be made official sometime this week, will net T-Mobile enough additional spectrum to cover an estimated 150 million people. Verizon paid $2.4 billion for its A Block licenses, and acquiring companies would obviously need to pay that or more for Verizon to part with it. T-Mobile scraped together $3.8 billion in debt and stock sales last month specifically to pay for the acquisition, which will primarily bolster existing LTE markets.
Back in April, wireless carriers and the government announced
that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). The goal is to reduce the time that stolen phones remain useful, thereby drying up the market for stolen phones and reducing the ability of criminals to use the devices to dodge surveillance.
T-Mobile chief financial officer Braxton Carter this week told Reuters
that a T-Mobile merger with Sprint would be an excellent idea. "We think it's not a question of if but when that there's further consolidation in our industry," Carter told public attendees of the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference this week in New York. Speaking privately to Reuters, Carter then called a Sprint T-Mobile pairing the "the logical ultimate combination."
Regulators likely won't agree, having recently preserved four competitors by blocking the T-Mobile AT&T merger, though Carter insists that the two smaller companies merging would "create a more competitive environment" by posing a bigger threat to AT&T and Verizon.
directs our attention to some changes in T-Mobile's pricing and tethering policies that may save you a buck. Previously, T-Mobile users needed to shell out an additional $20 if they wanted unlimited smartphone data and 500 MB of tethered data, $30 for 2.5 GB of tethering data, or $40 for 4.5 GB of additional tethering data. Now, customers can pay an additional $20 for 2.5GB of tethering ($10 less), $30 for 4.5 GB ($10 less) or choose a new 6.5GB tethering option for $40. Granted rooted, VPN-using customers for whom data is just data probably find this amusing, but it's still some cost savings for those on stock devices.
Back in May AT&T launched AIO Wireless
, a new prepaid brand that tries to distance itself from AT&T's more traditional (and for some, disliked) corporate image. Part of the brand overhaul includes a website
that features adorable fonts, cozy wood grained backdrops, and occasionally the color magenta.
Outraged over this purportedly diabolical transgression, T-Mobile has filed a lawsuit against AT&T
, claiming that AT&T is intentionally trying to confuse customers by using T-Mobile's familiar hue:
"AT&T’s subsidiary’s use of magenta to attract T-Mobile customers is likely to dilute T-Mobile’s famous magenta color trademark, and to create initial interest [and] confusion as to the source or affiliation of AT&T’s subsidiary’s business..."
This isn't the first time T-Mobile has gotten sue happy over what they believe is their
color, having threatened to sue Engadget back in 2008
for daring to use the color in a mobile website font.
It kind of went without saying given the recent launch of MetroPCS's BYOD program
, but T-Mobile says that their migration of MetroPCS users to the T-Mobile network is well ahead of their planned schedule
. It has been less than two months after the ink was dry on the deal, and the company is already speeding along with their plan to shut down the MetroPCS CDMA network, use that network for LTE deployment, then continue running MetroPCS as a prepaid brand. "The moment that NYSE bell rang on May 1, we put it into high gear and hit the gas," insists T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
Confirming the rumblings from last week
, MetroPCS today launched their new bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program that allows users to bring their GSM-based Android phones and iPhones to the MetroPCS network. According to the MetroPCS website
, this new BYOD program is currently only available in Dallas, Las Vegas, Hartford and Boston. MetroPCS is allowing users to access the T-Mobile network this week, and MetroPCS plans to begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit and the LG Optimus L9 (both GSM/HSPA+ devices). Interested users can check if their phone is eligible for the BYOD option here
As we've seen with both Sprint and T-Mobile, LTE launch locations pop up well ahead of official launch markets as the companies run pre-commercial launch tests. Users now say that they're seeing T-Mobile LTE signals pop up in Detroit, Minneapolis and New York City
. Minneapolis is slated for a May launch, while both Detroit and New York City aren't officially expected to come online until June. T-Mobile previously stated they aim to cover 100 million potential customers with LTE by the middle of 2013, with 200 million potential customers covered by the end of this year.
Washington State's Attorney General is hammering T-Mobile over the company's new no contract claims
, insisting that the carrier is engaging in false advertising. Washington AG General Bob Ferguson seems to have taken particular issue with T-Mobile's promises of a $99 iPhone 5, which requires users pay $99 down, then twenty four monthly payments of $20.
After AT&T's attempted takeover of T-Mobile was blocked by regulators, it didn't take T-Mobile long to re-embrace its role of industry upstart, launching a series of ad campaigns that took pot shots at AT&T. Now AT&T's returning the favor. story continues..
As Broadband Reports reader johnnn
first scooped back in December
, T-Mobile has quietly been deploying their implementation of HD voice without much fanfare. Unlike upcoming versions of VoLTE, T-Mobile's implementation of HD voice doesn't eat batteries for breakfast, and it's also operating at a significantly lower bit rate (12.65kbps).
T-Mobile made waves last year finally stating they'd be selling the iPhone in 2013. At the same time the fourth-place carrier announced they'd also be getting rid of subsidies this year
, meaning you could pay full price for an iPhone, or pay it off by adding $15-$20 to your monthly bill.
T-Mobile has launched HSPA+ service in the company's 1900 MHz spectrum in several new markets as the carrier continues to woo unlocked device owners. According to a blog post
by CTO Neville Ray, the company has expanded what they're calling "enhanced" service in Chicago; Reno, Nevada; and Fresno, Sacramento and a few additional portions of Southern California. "T-Mobile has now enhanced the network in 23 metro areas, and we have already reached 100 million people with this improved network experience," said Ray. While the improvements are great, T-Mobile still has a lot of work to do in order to be prepared for their launch of the iPhone in 2013
, with huge portions of their footprint nationally still only offering EDGE speeds
T-Mobile has launched HSPA+ service in the company's 1900 MHz spectrum in several new markets, and the carrier continues to woo unlocked device owners. According to a blog post
by T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray, the company has turned on 1900 MHz in Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and additional portions of the Bay Area.
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