You didn’t think you were the only ones potentially being screwed over by this whole T-Mobile and AT&T thing, did you? The deal between the two wireless operators had us focused on the potential outcomes for customers, but we’ve just been reminded that their employees are going to be seriously affected, too.
The Wall Street Journal reported that out of the 9,200 AT&T and T-Mobile stores nationwide, 41 percent of these stores are within one mile of each other. This creates a problem because, if the FCC approves this deal, some stores will have to be closed. That means you’re out of luck if you own one of the selected stores.
AT&T’s interest in T-Mobile is purely for its resources. The deal means the towers that once carried T-Mobile data would help AT&T improve its network. Sadly, some of the stores that once sold T-Mobile phones and service will not get the chance to be a part of the new company.
This is not the worst news, “[T-Mobile store owners] aren’t allowed to communicate with AT&T about store planning while regulators are considering the deal. A decision is expected in early 2012.”
Now this T-Mobile deal is affecting the consumers, the retailers and the people who will lose jobs and building owners who will lose clients. The WSJ report added that if this deal happens, retail store closures will be another hit that the economy doesn’t need.
A rash of store closings would be another headache for commercial landlords still digging out from store closings and bankruptcy filings by large retailers like Borders Group Inc., Circuit City and Linens ‘n Things. Outdoor strip malls, which are popular with wireless stores, have been particularly hard hit, with a 10.9% vacancy rate that is expected to rise to a 21-year peak this year, according to research firm Reis Inc.
There we go folks, more reasons why the FCC needs to think about this deal long and hard. Sprint, along with other companies, has stated that AT&T doesn’t need T-Mobile to continue their growth and they can still develop their network without T-Mobile’s spectrum.
I use T-Mobile and would hate for this to happen. If the deal does go through, I would consider switching to Verizon, whose phone selection and network strength are arguably better than that of T-Mobile. AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile doesn’t seem to offer much for current T-Mobile customers, except perhaps access to the iPhone. In terms of incentive for T-Mobile customers, it seems like the options are slim to none.