PaladinSage of the light
Key problem is spectrum
AT&T only has greenfield spectrum for 80% of the country. With agressive deployment plans in 2012 they'll either be using most of their "underutilitzed" spectrum or Verizon and Sprint will eat their lunch. That still doesn't help the ares where no greenfield exists. These areas will require spectrum refarms that require different handsets than the rest of the country. How is that an ideal technical solution for AT&T? There's a reason why the engineers rejected the marketing people's solution... they did not have the spectrum. Ulitmately what leaked to the FCC was inaccurate. AT&T cannot complete their network to more than 80% of their footprint without either more greenfield spectrum. Period.
Dish spectrum would pair with Qualcomm spectrum and go a long way to solve AT&T's problem. That's why this talk is happening in the first place. It would actually be less painful than the T-Mobile deal was, AT&T might luck into doing the right thing here.
Correct, without the Qualcomm spectrum. I don't think that spectrum re-farming is coming in the foreseeable future, because they need that spectrum for HSPA+, so they will have to rely on that "4G" in those areas that don't have greenfield.
The Qualcomm spectrum will eventually provide greenfield in LTE, but it's not very much (Verizon's C Block is 22mhz alone), and it requires TD-LTE to work in the first place, which, AFAIK, doesn't exist as of now...
DISH, however, would make sense for AT&T, as DISH isn't going to be able to use or build-out anything meaningful. If they bought the DISH spectrum in exchange for an agreement to resell to rural areas through DISH, and some rural build-out requirements from DISH, it would hugely benefit both parties. It also wouldn't raise any more regulatory red flags than the Spectrumco purchase by Verizon, as DISH similarly doesn't actually own a terrestrial wireless network, unlike T-Mobile.
|reply to Paladin |
Ok AT&T needs more greenfield spectrum which is a fact. How much will buying Dish move them from 80% of the country?
Well, the Qualcomm already covers the whole country, but it's only 6mhz, the DISH spectrum would give them 12mhz nationwide, all unpaired, but that's at least a start, especially considering they already have paired SMH or AWS in all the major markets, so it would largely be filling in coverage, not capacity. It would also be a much better use of the spectrum than DISH owning it, as they're not going to do anything with it.
I'm in the situation where if I wanted to I could switch from AT&T to VZW. Will AT&T be able to catch up to VZW in quality of LTE and coverage?
Not directly. But the combination of LTE and HSPA+ may be VERY compelling. Remember, in more rural/exurban areas, AT&T's HSPA+ is insanely awesome, and in the urban areas, they do, by and large, have the spectrum to deploy LTE. However, for straight up LTE, Verizon is going to DOMINATE.