AT&T/T-Mobile USA deal could take up to one year for federal approval

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 21st, 2011, 07:00
Category: iPhone, News

Even if AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA for US$39 billion may come as good news, it might be a while before T-Mobile can offer an iPhone.

Per T-Mobile, U.S. customers of T-Mobile likely will not have access to Apple’s iPhone for at least one year, assuming a proposed acquisition from AT&T is granted federal approval.

Following the announcement on Sunday that AT&T plans to buy T-Mobile to create the largest wireless provider in the U.S., a list of frequently asked questions were posted on the official T-Mobile website. In that list, one question is specifically devoted to the iPhone, which is currently only available to AT&T and Verizon customers.

“T-Mobile USA remains an independent company,” the FAQ reads. “The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.”

T-Mobile cannot yet offer the iPhone because its wireless network is not compatible with the 3G radio found in the GSM version of Apple’s best-selling smartphone. And that won’t change until AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile is approved by federal regulators — a milestone that is by no means guaranteed.

The merging of customer bases from AT&T and T-Mobile would create a total of about 130 million users, making AT&T the largest carrier in the U.S. AT&T has touted that the acquisition of T-Mobile will help to speed up its own existing nationwide network.

Though they operate on different radio frequencies, the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile have a common technology base with 3G UMTS. That will make it easier for AT&T to merge the two networks and ensure that handsets from both companies will be compatible on the same network.

T-Mobile’s FAQ also notes that the acquisition will offer “significant benefits” for customers, improving network quality and boosting speeds.

“The merger will ensure the deployment of a robust 4G LTE network to 95% of the U.S. population, something neither company would achieve on its own,” it reads. “Also, because of our compatible networks and spectrum, the customers of T-Mobile USA and AT&T will experience improved voice and data service almost immediately after the networks are integrated.”

Customers were also advised that they should not wait to sign up with T-Mobile or upgrade their handset, as the company remains independent until the deal is approved. The company will also honor all contracted plans that are entered into before the change of ownership.

AT&T announced on Sunday its plans to acquire T-Mobile for US$39 billion. The cash and stock deal, if approved, would give Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile USA, an 8% stake in AT&T.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on the deal, please let us know in the comments.

Recent Posts

3 Responses to “AT&T/T-Mobile USA deal could take up to one year for federal approval”

  1. Here is Similar Story

    Following AT&T Inc.’s announced deal to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, regional player U.S. Cellular becomes relatively smaller but perhaps a lot more valuable, both as an operator and potential acquisition.

    While the competition gets bigger, the 28-year-old Chicago-based company could pick up everything from mandatory divestments of spectrum and equipment to disgruntled ex-customers of the proposed megacarrier, analysts said Monday, a day after AT&T’s announcement.

  2. Here is a similar story

    Unlike the rumored combination of T-Mobile and Sprint, which never made much sense on so many levels, the AT&T/T-Mobile combination provides a clear technology roadmap with a straightforward integration path that will let T-Mobile and AT&T customers escape an impending capacity crunch. With a minimum eight- to ten-fold increase in data usage until 2015, wireless operators do not have the luxury to wait for the promised 500 MHz of spectrum to be cleared and auctioned by the FCC, but have to act now.

  3. The question I have is whether T-Mobile and AT&T will have roaming agreements in the interim period as Cingular and AT&T did during the wait for approval of their transaction. If they do so, it should provide value to both companies in comparison to their intended competiton, Verizon and Sprint.