May 11: The day T-Mobile and AT&T have to face the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee

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.

  • Enoel69

    Prices will eventually decline or at least remain steady with Tmo..(such as the recently announced EM+ prices to see a $20 reduction). Such price cuts will have an indirect effect on the other carriers to either not raise their prices, keep them as they are or drop them some to keep up with the likes of Tmo and sprint. At least when it comes to the four major carriers , Verizon, Att, Tmo and Sprint…u deffinately need Tmo n Sprint to act as a price buffer to hold down prices that benefit all US cell phone customers. When it comes to cellphone innovationTmo is at the fore front…they took a chance on the Android OS by partnering with Google and HTC to release the G1. Meanwhile all the other carriers stood on the side lines for more than a year or so and watched till they all realized the Android OS is future..a huge part of cellphone computing.

    • I agree.

      With the merger – prices will actually level out for a short time however. I see this changing within 6 months (of course with another desired phone exclusive deal) and the price will shoot back up. Verizon will match it of course, and Sprint will be the next T-Mobile, once again in the same position they have been since 1999 when they went consumer plan over business plan – when everyone who had bad credit went to Sprint, and drove them into the ground.

      So it seems that AT&T and Verizon are not competing for gaining customers (both companies just BUY their customers via mergers anyway) but compete on “how much can we get from the existing customers we have” – so sure they compete on price, but its to see how much they can nickel and dime from existing ones, rather than T-Mobile and Sprint way which is to lower the price to gain subscribers.

      Sprint is in a really bad position with this politically, but not socially. However in the long run, it wont matter because Sprint still has Clearwire and LightSquared on its side, and that WiMAX and LTE roll out will still compete.

  • yup

    t mobile isn’t always cheaper my case by comparing the minutes offset with everyone on my contact list but 3 people on ATT with the text package and internet package for both lines I would save a whopping 10 bucks wasn’t worth it considering the aforementioned and where i live t mobile get shoddy reception inside my house and most other places i frequent

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