On May 11th, exactly one month from today, T-Mobile and AT&T are going to have to attend a hearing with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, headed by Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, to explain why they think the proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T is a good thing for the American people. It’s certainly controversial, since it would mean both of America’s GSM operators would merge and put Sprint at a severe disadvantage in terms of competing. AT&T plans on using T-Mobile current 3G spectrum in the AWS band (1700/2100 MHz) to roll out LTE service, which would mean T-Mobile’s customers currently using a 3G device would lose their high speed service. Google, who has traditionally worked with T-Mobile to release devices with little or no tweaks to their Android operating system, think of the Nexus One and Nexus S, would have to start dealing with AT&T and their funky data caps and ridiculous urge to modify each and every aspect of their Android devices in order to nickel and dime customers.
In a land where operators already exert too much control over what their customers on a wireless network, we don’t really think this merger is a good idea, but at the same time there’s no denying that combining the network resources of both AT&T and T-Mobile would actually give America a GSM operator that’s worthy of being called reliable. Verizon isn’t going to have a problem competing either since they’ve been building out their network for years, and while their service is the most expensive in the country, the old saying you get what you pay for rings true; Verizon customers rarely have coverage issues.
What do you think? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, it isn’t like prices are going to start falling.