AT&T spoke Monday morning about its planned merger with T-Mobile. Much of the presentation focused on the financials behind the deal and the reasons why AT&T believes it will receive regulatory approval. A section of the presentation presented some of the details on how the merger will proceed from a cellular standpoint, the aspect most likely to affect current T-Mobile and AT&T customers.
AT&T confirmed that T-Mobile will operate as independent company under the guidance of AT&T. A member of Deutsche Telecom will join AT&T’s board of directors, a move that will link the financial interests of both companies. AT&T will take the lead in this merger and will use T-Mobile’s current cellular infrastructure to boost the coverage and network capacity of both companies, especially in major metropolitan areas. Redundant cell towers will be removed and the equipment used in other locations. T-Mobile customers will also get access to AT&T’s wide network of WiFi hotspots.
Eventually, T-Mobile customers will be transitioned off the AWS spectrum and on to AT&T’s 1900MHz network. This move implies T-Mobile’s current plan of AWS HSPA+ will be slowly phased out. These AWS bands will be repurposed for use in AT&T’s upcoming LTE network. Currently, AT&T will be using its 700MHz spectrum for LTE in the major metropolitan areas. The AWS spectrum will be deployed in suburban and rural areas to extend AT&T’s 4G network. The carrier hopes to cover 95% of the U.S. population with 4G mobile broadband access and the merger with T-Mobile will only accelerate this plan, not slow it down.
AT&T’s current purchase of 700MHz spectrum from Qualcomm will go ahead as planned and AT&T will use that asset in its 4G LTE network as well. The company hopes this merger with T-Mobile will boost revenue and lower the churn rate of the smaller, struggling wireless carrier. AT&T expects to receive government approval with little difficulty and without divesting any properties. It points out that the deal should be scrutinized based on local markets, many of which have 3-4 carriers from which to buy service. AT&T is de-emphasizing the fact its merger deal will cut the number of major carriers from four to three. It will be interesting to watch this mega-merger make its way through the approval process and see how its final form affects the cellular landscape here in the U.S.
Update: An archive of the webcast is now available on AT&T. Click here to view the presentation.