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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson   (Source: ZDNET)
AT&T's CEO makes a case for iPhone customers in T-Mobile deal

AT&T raised more than a few eyebrows when it announced its plans to purchase Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit for a whopping $39B earlier this year. Verizon gave the announcement a hearty "meh", while Sprint's early grumblings about the deal turned into a full-blown battle cry

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is now making a case for the deal, and is specifically citing iPhone users as benefiting from the merger reports Business Week

Stephenson says that the bringing T-Mobile into the fold will boost network capacity (by as much as 30 percent) and improve service for the iPhone and other smartphones that hog data.

“This transaction is very instrumental," said Stephenson. “Virtually on the day you close the deal, getting a 30 percent lift in capacity in New York City: that’s a significant improvement in call quality and data throughput.”

As for Sprint's concerns about the deal going through, Stephenson says that there is nothing to worry about. “This is an intensely competitive industry. It is intense before we do this transaction, it will be intense after we do this transaction.”

Reviewers, customers, and independent agencies have repeatedly blasted AT&T’s 3G service. In December 2010, Consumer Reports proclaimed,  "AT&T is the worst carrier." AT&T ranked dead last in a survey of 58,000 Consumer Reports readers.

AT&T notoriously shoddy 3G voice/data service was seen as one of the motivators for customers to drop AT&T and head straight for Verizon's version of the iPhone 4.

Nearly two years ago, there were reports indicating that AT&T had a 30 percent dropped call rate in New York City. And we can't forget Verizon's Holiday 2009 commercials that took numerous jabs at AT&T's call quality and service coverage.

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Good for iPhoners my ass....
By Ristogod on 3/30/2011 6:28:36 PM , Rating: 1
Less competition is never a good thing for the consumer. iPhoner or not.

RE: Good for iPhoners my ass....
By Aikouka on 3/30/2011 7:01:57 PM , Rating: 3
Well, strictly speaking for iPhone users... unless you unlocked your phone, you could only use AT&T and now recently Verizon. After this merger, you will still have the same standard (i.e. non-unlocked) carrier options available to you.

For everyone else, this could be taken negatively... especially if you're a T-Mobile customer that does not like AT&T. But hey... Verizon or Sprint would welcome you with open arms ;).

RE: Good for iPhoners my ass....
By vol7ron on 3/30/2011 7:20:48 PM , Rating: 4
Most of the time (there's little competition in electricity, which is highly regulated and allows for cheap prices), but less options does not mean less competition.

This could financially benefit AT&T to fix it's problems, or at least make it capable of being more competitive.

Of course, AT&T could have just spent that $39B on actually improving its network to possibly achieve better than 30% capacity improvement.

RE: Good for iPhoners my ass....
By RufusM on 3/30/2011 8:34:53 PM , Rating: 3
To compare cell service to electricity utilities the government would need to make cell service providers a quasi-government monopoly.

I further argue that electric utilities aren't exactly providing cheap electricity compared to what they should be charging since they are subject to the whims of government: expensive renewable fuel regulations, more emissions regulations, carbon taxes (if that gets going), labor unions with high fringe benefit costs, etc. Don't get me wrong, they need to be regulated since we don't want a bunch of Enrons out there, but there's a balance needed.)

T-Mobile is increasing their market share and AT&T is simply buying up their closest GSM technology competitor to increase their market share, end of story. After the purchase is completed, there will be less competition, less choice and will setup a cell phone oligopoly. We end up with another company the government thinks is too big to fail when economic pressures come home.

RE: Good for iPhoners my ass....
By Nutzo on 3/31/2011 10:49:24 AM , Rating: 2
electric utilities aren't exactly providing cheap electricity compared to what they should be charging since they are subject to the whims of government

Electirical rates are charge on a slidding scale out here in Southern California. The more you use, the higher the rate, as high as $.38/KW.
The scale is base on usage numbers from back in the 60's before most people had air conditioners, computers, etc. Also, the scale is the same each household, weither it's a single person living in a 500sq condo, or a family of 6 living in a large home. So, if you have a family, you are going to be pushed up into the higher rates.

As for the merger, AT&T will end up with alot more bandwidth due to all the T-mobile people who will leave once they have to renew at the new AT&T rates.

By shortylickens on 4/3/2011 10:30:06 AM , Rating: 2
Thats exactly what I was thinking. If they had put that 39 billion into the company itself in the form of more/better cell towers, more technicians, more customer service, etc, then they could have pwnd the other 3 carriers. As such a 30 percent increase in capacity is not really impressive.

And I've been looking over the tmobile & ATT coverage maps. I seriously doubt they will expand coverage across America by a a whopping 1/3. They mostly cover each other right now and tmobile is smaller than AT&T. There arent too many places where tmobile has full coverage and AT&T has none.

So this is AT&T admitting...
By StealthX32 on 3/30/2011 6:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
So is this full-on admission that their "fastest 3G network in America" is a bunch of lies? And that T-Mobile's network is actually faster? The iPhones aren't HSPA+ compatible afterall...

As a T-Mobile customer myself, I'm pretty displeased with this merger idea.

RE: So this is AT&T admitting...
By Aikouka on 3/30/2011 6:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say it's more of AT&T admitting that their network is bogged down in a few key areas. Notice that whenever there is talk about AT&T congestion or dropped calls, one place tends to come up in the discussion: New York City. I've been an AT&T customer since 2005 (back when it was Cingular), and I've never had a dropped call while I had signal (I have lived in areas with spotty signal regardless of carrier).

This merger probably won't mean anything for me except maybe slightly better signal in certain areas, but I don't really have problems now anyway.

RE: So this is AT&T admitting...
By fic2 on 3/30/2011 8:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
Last year in Vail, CO a friend with an iPhone couldn't get or receive calls. I guess there are just too many trendy people in Vail, though.

BTW, had no problem with my Sprint service.

This will benifit t-mobile customers more
By HrilL on 3/30/2011 7:11:05 PM , Rating: 1
Every time I go snowboarding I get a warm fuzzy feeling that I don't have T-mobile. At&t and Verizon at least both have service in these types of locations. Even Big Bear Lake has no T-mobile service and the same goes for Mammoth Lakes. These are areas where cell phones have literally saved lives. Not having any service at all on the mountain also makes it hard to coordinate with friends. We'd always have one or two friends that we would get separated with and never find until we got back to the cabin.

After this merger happens we'll finally all be able to be in contact.

But I do see this as a down side for competition. At&t and Verizon already have almost the exact same prices and don't really compete. Duopolies are a bad thing. Ma Bell is coming back that's for sure and the only winner is the corporations.

By chick0n on 3/31/2011 7:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
I never had any problem at Big Bear Lake ?

Sure signal gets weaker, perhaps Your phone sucks?

Monopoly gives you better service? Damn we all learn something new everyday don't we ?

By mars2k on 3/31/2011 11:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I'm trying to think of what Bear lake will look like when 20 million T-mobile users go there to use the fabulous new ATT service.
I have T-Mobile now primarily because it is NOT ATT. T-Mobile has unlimited phone/ data plans at the lowest rates available. That will all change. Another thing that will change is will be service. Oh my God! Have any of you tried to get service from ATT after hrs? Forget it.
Another thing, in my book a totally free market would include competition with all players, government included. After all the government service would have to be responsive to the “invisible hand of the market”. Also in my book,….. no restriction of the marketplace OF ANY KIND, meaning the government can step in when private can’t or won’t do it well.
Free Market, what nonsense! There is no free market. That’s just the claptrap conservative nincompoops spew to rationalize the sociopathic behavior of corporations with the money to buy whatever legislation they want.

It's early still...
By phantom505 on 3/30/2011 6:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
Who knows how many will phase out T-mobile for Verizon since they know what is going to happen in the near-ish future?

I know my sister is already planning to abandon T-mobile for Verizon as soon as her contract is up. The take over has been the target of our banter ever since this was announced.

It'd be amusing to see AT&T end up being #2 even after trying to hostilely take over customers (and band width).

RE: It's early still...
By mars2k on 3/31/2011 11:58:31 AM , Rating: 2
Count me in....I'm definitely quitting T-Mobile I’ve been with them for 10 years

What about T-mobile users?
By tayb on 3/30/2011 8:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
I guess all t-mobile users will just have to turn off their phones and let AT&T use all existing t-mobile towers? Uhhh???

So AT&T will increase network capacity by 30% and add 40 million customers. Unless t-mobile is just sitting on a goldmine of unused network capacity (hahahaha) this acquisition won't result in any positives for current AT&T customers unless you count reduced customer service and less competitive pricing a positive.

I will lose all faith left in the US if this deal is allowed to go through.

By kleinma on 4/1/2011 3:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
I like the picture.. that is Randall Stephenson illustrating "this is how far we plan to stick it up our customers asses"

By jconan on 4/2/2011 12:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a T-Mobile customer, and I've never really cared for an iPhone otherwise I would have switched to a carrier that had one. Priority wise price and stability of signals are more important than a particular brand or model. Who cares when you have the best phone but can't make a call when you need to.

iPhone users to AT&T CEO......
By gevorg on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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