T-Mobile's Next Move

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

T-Mobile's Next Move

T-Mobile to Pump $4 Billion Into Network, 4G LTE Buildout. This is T-Mobile's next move on the heels of getting fiber and billions in cash from AT&T after the merger was nixed by the government agencies.

I have to laugh at this because Clearwire has clearly (heh) spent more than $4B to only partially build out a nationwide 4G network. How will T-Mobile do it for $4B?

Google is cutting its losses and selling its stake in Clearwire for $47 million, a tenth of the price it originally paid. What does that say?

AT&T's CEO had his pay cut over the debacle of the merger. Across the board - and it pains me immensely to say this - only VZW seems to have a clear cut strategy that they are executing on. Sprint and AT&T need new management. I have said it before and I will state it again: Hesse is not helping Sprint at all. He has had ample time to fix Sprint -- yet he has not. Like IBM bring in Lou, Sprint needs an outsider to come in and shake it up to make it competitive.

Rumors this morning are that Sprint was in talks to acquire MetroPCS. Bloomberg, Reuters and others reported that the Board vetoed the deal as a sign that they have lost faith in Hesse. Uh, hello! That's what I have been saying.

I'm shopping for a new cell phone (to replace my Blackberry) and friends pointed out that Sprint hasn't had a new phone since the iPhone. And subsidizing the iPhone is hurting all 3 carriers in the wallet. Devices are what drive cellular sales. Smartphones, tablets, netbooks, data cards, Mi-Fi hotspots -- all contribute to sales and ARPU increases. When you have a tired inventory, retention and acquisition of customers is challenged.

What else?

There's still DISH out there with its spectrum and desire to build out a 4G network. One has to wonder if DISH will hire Nokia Siemens Networks or Ericcson to build and manage its 4G network.

Don't forget LightSquared. LSQD is cutting staff - all but the lawyers, those they are doubling down on to sue the FCC and the DOD.

A scandal surrounds the Obama Administration for perhaps helping LightSquared to the detriment of OpenRange - at least that's what HotAir is saying. I don't think another extension would have helped OpenRange get out of its massive debt.

Peak and MetroPCS are still in play. Who will play with them? As I mentioned above about the devices driving sales, Peak, MetroPCS and US Cellular have been to the FCC to complain about the big 3 locking them out of the hottest devices. While there has been talk about Peak and MetroPCS being bought, US Cellular is 81% owned by TDS, so they aren't in play.

VZW will be fighting to the cable spectrum, since T-Mobile and others think that the deal is too good for VZW+cable, bad for everyone esle. For one thing, the deal creates a joint venture corporation that allows the 4 companies - BHN, TWC, VZW, Comcast - to spend a lot of time together (and that can't be good for competition - what little there is).

Why the FCC will likely say yes anyway: Because they have to.

All this activity doesn't make it easy to sell these carriers. It makes the bankers happy though -- and that's not usually a good thing.

One final cell story: AT&T lost a small claims court case against an iPhone user for throttling. AT&T is appealling. Apparently, it can't afford any losses for this network management strategy. I think it is a case of false advertising across the board. Like everything else about broadband, it's never what is advertised and you are always stuck in a box due to ridiculous contract terms.

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