The Big T

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

The Big T

AT&T announced yesterday that they were buying T-Mobile from its parent, DT, for $39B.  There are so many losers in this combination I don't know where to begin!

First, generally consumers lose as Ma Bell hordes even more spectrum. T-Mobile has AWS spectrum; Ma Bell is buying Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum, which is being contested by consumer groups, because all this spectrum shouldn't be in the hands of 2 companies. Ma Bell already has 700 MHz spectrum from its Aloha Networks buy. Just deploy it already.
(The customers for The Combo Big T could win when all that spectrum is finally deployed.) 

Consumers will also lose because T-Mobile was a low-priced carrier. That will surely go away so that The Big T can maintain ARPU.

Handset manufacturers lose one more customer. Wireless gear companies lose one more customer. Google Android loses one more customer. Competition loses as the Big 4 become the Big 3. That's never good.

Sprint loses (although a merger with T-Mobile might have killed this company; no merger may be its death knell as well). Sprint might have to start thinking about buying MetroPCS, Cricket, Leap and US Cellular, none of which will be an easy deal due to ownership.

The FCC and DOJ lose here because they will approve it eventually, but even with concessions, it will create a company way too big to fail. And a company that will fail in customer service and delivery as it has done throughout the iPhone era. Oh, and a company that isn't about open handsets either. No, sir, T is all about locking that ecosystem down into little walled gardens. The DOJ and the FCC just don't have the cajolies to say No to a merger.

Ma Bell already has sizeable debt; this will just add to it. And remember this is a flat market. Sure more devices are being attached to the cellular network, but how much more ARPU can you get out of any consumer? Seriously. Apparently, Ma Bell looked around and said, "We can't grow organically. We talk about all the opportunity out there, but we are all about being BIG, not good, just BIG. We can't get BIG through organic growth when our network and reputation are taking a beating. Let's pull an Alltel-VZ."

The economy loses here as well. This merger will result in tens of thousands of layoffs. Not just at The Big Combo T but at gear and handset manufacturers as well in a ripple effect. Just what the economy needs more lay offs.

T-Mobile customers win by getting access to the iPhone in 15 or 18 months.

DT wins because they end up owning 8% of The Big Combo T; but they wanted 50% of a combo with Sprint, so go figure.

Oh! and Wall Street wins because so many bankers get paid on this deal. (I had to delete what I wrote about my feeling towards bankers who really add nothing of value to our economy.)

UPDATE: The other big loser here: media. To the tune of $400M per year in ad spending.

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