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AT&T Faces Steep Climb With T-Mobile Acquisition Says FCC Official

Everyone and their mother has an opinion about the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile – including me. Some say it’s good, I say it’s bad. Some say it’ll go through, I say there’s a good chance it won’t. But now an FCC Official took a moment off the record to say there is “no way” the FCC will “rubber-stamp” the deal, claiming it faces “a steep climb”.

As I expected.

When Verizon bought Alltel in 2008 it faced a large amount of FCC and that company was MUCH smaller than T-Mobile USA. However, Verizon made enough concessions on a market-by-market basis, allowing Alltel to keep it’s assets in locations without ample competition, and they were able to go through with the deal.

The question, in my opinion, is where do you draw the line? If Verizon could make enough concessions… why can’t AT&T make it work as long as 1 other carrier is in each market? And if AT&T can make buying T-Mobile work, why couldn’t Verizon buy Sprint as long as there was a competitor in each city-by-city basis? And if all that goes through, we’ll be left with 2 carriers and a bunch of scrapple.

I hope the FCC looks at this deal with the highest level of scrutiny and thinks about the DISTANT future of mobile competition, not just the latest 3-year hoorah. We need healthy competition!




  • Treefq

    the only way verizon is taking sprint is hostile takeover, and that won’t happen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9202556 Brandon Thompson

      Verizon has no reason to buy Sprint. None at all.

      • Anonymous

        Agree no need to buy sprint when they already have a huge network and expanding their LTE network. AT&T is trying to do it because they suck and cant afford to expand their network unless they buy another and use their network

  • Wrceuro

    I am really happy about this news. I really don’t want to see it come down to ATT vs Verizon. The customers will loose big time on this one. Think about it. They will dictate how much to charge and no one will be able to stop them.

    • OutstandingO

      I’m glad about it to, and your right about this buy-out being a loss for the consumers. Everything from customer service, to fees, and network performance for At&t has been garbage for the past 5+ years. I know I may sound bias but so many things work for me right now with TMo (this includes my bill and my unlimited data) I would hate to see that change.

      • Anonymous

        What could be worth?..We are already getting it up our A**es you know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kam.w.siu Kam Siu

    i’m really against any potential merger. i’ve love t-mobile and i’ve been with them my whole life. there service is absolutely wonderful in my area. i believe the nation needed this competitiveness. Just recently t-mobile just announced 42 Mbp down speed while other networks are still struggling at 4G speeds. If it wasn’t for t-mobile, 4G wars wouldn’t have begun! no matter what, we need companies like t-mobile to give great prices and great competitive angle to the market!

    if there’s a petition to block this merger, sign me up!

    • Aaron Sua

      Actually Sprint started the 4G wars. I used to have Tmo and I only switched to another carrier because their coverage area didn’t extend to my new house. If Tmo could get bigger I’d switch back, if AT&T buys them then I’ll have no GSM carrier to go to.

  • Anonymous

    I have AT&T and they didn’t have ANY innovative phones out at all until T-Mo started cranking out the Google phones. This caused a chain effect of carriers scrambling to get ‘the better’ phone. T-Mo. Whether you like them or not, and as small as they are, they were able to shake things up in the industry to benefit all us consumers. So call them what you will, but I for one would not want to see them fall into the clutches of another carrier. Things are good right now, the way they are.

  • Ms.Carmen Diva

    I am actually excited for this. I like T-mobile & At&t and i do hope it goes through

    • Anonymous

      I THINK IM GOING TO LIKE EVERYTHING CARMEN DIVA SAID JUST CUZ….. O YEA GO TMOBILE

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UVVXTRFLHCT57HUOK7DAV6DXYY Brian B

      Our existing anti-trust laws should take precedent here: Consequently, the merger will not come to fruition!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784730346 Jimmy Barker

      Yea…ummm… you have no clue what your talking about. Just because you like both companies doesn’t mean it should go through. I bet you like sports teams based on the color of their uniforms don’t you? If AT&T is able to pull this off say good bye to cheap unlimited data. ATT charges 45 a month for i believe it is either 2 or 4 gb of data a MONTH I use that in a week. I pay 15 a month for my T MO UNLIMITED DATA yea 1/3 of what att charges and its unlimited as well. I not only hope this doesn’t go through but ATT gets in trouble some how for even trying??? I can dream tho right

  • funkevin

    TMo is clearly not succeeding on their own. Either they will join one of the other three or they will go bankrupt. Either way you will have only three carriers left. So crying about less competition isn’t going to get you anywhere. At least this way they are absorbed by a carrier that can take advantage of their technology and hopefully provide some future benefit to AT&T and TMo customers.

    • no one

      “Tmo is clearly not succeeding on their own” What are you smoking?!?!?! They have 34 million customers and have turned a substantial profit every year! They have one of the best all around Android lineups. They have the best customer service and most affordable plans. And lets not forget they have the largest 4G network and it actually works unlike att who sells people “4G” phones that can’t even get 4G in more than a few areas and even then their upload speeds are capped. Just because other companies (att and sprint) are interested in buying them does not mean they are about to go bankrupt. The reason these companies want to buy them out is because they ARE successful and they want to take out competitors. Everyone should hope to god that this merger is blocked because it will be bad for EVERYONE, including the blind-to-reality att subscribers like funkevin

      • funkevin

        Success in this case is defined by growing market share. Check the numbers for the last quarter and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

        • Strangeanomaly

          Market share isn’t a definition of success. One could plausibly gain market share and dive into the depths of unprofitability. Tmoble’s position has stalled in the last quarter. Which could be a bad thing, or could be a force that drives them toward further innovation.

          • Anonymous

            Cmon Strange, to be right like FunKevin, all you have to do is set the laws of your own reality ..IE “Success is defined by growing market share”..
            See? When you make the rules, your always right.
            I however do not think a stagnant market share % means anything other than stagnant. Profitability is what really determijnes success..
            Does FK think a behemoth like ATT is successful if it uses its massive scale to drive competitors out of business, all while losing money?
            Hmmm? Theres a word for that…..

        • Anonymous

          So your saying that only the companies who have the largest market share are successful, and that any company that loses market share is not, and should fold ?.. that would mean none but one company is successful in the end.. Market share is a fixed pie of 100 percent, you can never have all people with shares of the pie growing. You can have bigger and bigger pies where everyone is growing in general.. But that AT&T and Verizon, who have other products like landline phone service, internet, and TV serivce that entice users to bundle, or get users based on the fact that they are already customers, doesn’t take away from the fact that TMobile has done a great job with the smaller amount of spectrum they have, to get the market share they have.. They ARE successful and competitive.. but it’s like this, if I only only have so much land, I can only build so many houses in so many areas. All the carriers had to deal with the US spectrum auctions, the big pockets did better, and things have become they way they have become.. T Mobile is successful in spite of all of this.

        • Android T-Mobile

          Funny how that success your defining means nothing for us.
          Your still have crappy lock down phones and awful plans over at At&t.
          their service isn’t great either, but I guess your paying for the brand right?

  • Lucky04

    Verizon buying Alltel was different because they weren’t a major competitor nationwide like Sprint,AT&T and T-Mobile. So this was a plan to aquire a company so that Verizon could have more strength in those smaller area’s. AT&T buying T-Mobile is just over kill and this would only hurt the T-Mobile customers. Verizon can and could stand on thier own with out Alltel, AT&T needs T-Mobile to improve thier network….Just a thought

    • Anonymous

      Agree 100% at&t is doing it so they can expand their network otherwise they would not be able to since they are too cheap and wont spend the money unlike verizon who put billions into expanding their network and it shows.

      • Thorton

        Spot on. ATT charges their customers small fortunes, and doesn’t spend money easily on improvements. They are a small step above the Mofia

      • http://profiles.google.com/xarophti xarophti Skilton

        It’s not a question of AT&T not spending the money to expand their network, it’s that they want Tmos AWS spectrum. There’s a severe shortage of spectrum in the cellular industry and Tmo has the frequncies AT&T wants for their LTE expansion.

      • Anonymous

        AT&T spent 17 billion in 2009 and 19 billion in 2010 in expanding their network.. the too cheap thing comes again from a certain large group of phone users who have phones with defective antennae, who refuse to believe it could possibly be their wonder phone.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed as well, As a West Coaster I’ve never even heard of Alltell. If this doesn’t go through, Tmobile gets an excellent breakup fee, plus roaming rights and spectrum ffrom ATT. Fingers crossed that the FCC will not allow this to happen.

      • Tim242

        Alltel had a huge presence in Arizona. Alltel actually had the largest physical coverage area in the US. It was a great buy.

      • T Mobile Fan

        I am praying so hard that FCC will not approve this to happen. I have no other provider to go to… I will live without phone but will not go with ATT. I love T Mobile!!!!

  • Jonathan Drake

    What nobody has brought up is that already with only 4 nationwide carriers, we see market locks on SMS which kicked off that government investigation. Going down to 3 is just going to make it even worse. Now they will lock in pricing at even higher levels, especially since T-Mobile is the cheapest for the most right now.

  • NardVa

    I don’t want the merger to happen because eventually it will lead to higher cell phone bills.There want be any competition to drive the prices down. People keep saying you will always have Sprint but Sprint want be able to keep pace with AT&T and Verizon and they will fold into Verizon eventually. That will leave the USA with 2 major carrier who want have any incentive to keep prices low.

    • Anonymous

      you get higher phone bills because everyone wants to do unlimited netflix and videochat in HD and there’s not enough bandwidth. T-mobile is too small and needed to merge with somebody…I just wish it was with Sprint.

      • Nemesys06

        in a way i was hoping it was with sprint. maybe that’s why the CEO of sprint is appealing the merge. but i really don’t think sprint could afford it either. they have yet to fully merge nextel service with sprint service. sure, they have hybrid phones, but it’s not the same. it would cost them alot of money to buy tmobile. then they would have to spend even more money merging the services.

  • Levin49

    Please help and sign my petition to stop the AT&T/ T-Mobile merger. I will not stop until AT&T officially announce that they will not merge. Please help by signing this petition.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-att-t-mobile-merger#?opt_new=f&opt_fb=t

  • http://profiles.google.com/andreacmaietta Andrea Maietta

    i love this article no sources except a FCC source that no one knows , so this FCC source could be you for all we know

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784730346 Jimmy Barker

      Most officials when making a statement like the one above don’t like to named it would be like a juror going to the news about what happened in court that day

  • Anonymous

    Amazingly, if this does not go through, ATT’s breakup fee will substantially improve Tmobile’s future.

    • http://twitter.com/mrvirginia Anthony Virginia

      this is what i’m hoping is going to happen, tbh

  • http://twitter.com/mrvirginia Anthony Virginia

    i think it would be a really bad idea if AT&T acquired T-Mo. same for Verizon acquiring Sprint. 4 major competitors in the US is how i feel it should stay. just sucks because i think T-Mo has been going about things the right way as far as their business practices and AT&T is at the opposite end of that

  • Anonymous

    I THINK IM GOING TO LIKE EVERYTHING CARMEN DIVA SAID JUST CUZ….. O YEA GO TMOBILE

  • Blah

    T-Mobile doesn’t have to have the latest & greatest, they can just have mediocore service at a discount. That’s what competition does, give choices. All the talk about 4G is all hype, not useful unless you’re doing video conferencing all day, even then you’re still capped by the 5GB/mo “unlimited” plans anyway.

    • no to At&t

      Yeah, except T-Mobile doesn’t charge you extra for any overage just reduces your speed witch is better than getting a surprise charge on my bill grim att or Verizon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784730346 Jimmy Barker

      I know you are not talking about T Mobile. I use around 12 gb a month on my unlimited plan and have never been charged a dime extra. you need to get your facts straight

  • Nemesys06

    i would really hate to see it come down to just at&t and verizon. they both charge a ridiculous fee (as much as two house payments) for new customers with bad credit. I know at&t wants $1000 at max, which is about the dumbest thing i have ever heard. and at&t i heard isn’t far behind. however, if the merger does happen, i do wonder if they are going to charge me the deposit fee when i get forced to switch. i will switch back to sprint if that’s the case!

    • ATL guy

      If you have shitty credit you deserve a higher deposit.
      Here is a newsflash:
      FIX YOUR CREDIT
      or get the jitterbug

      • Nemesys06

        do you listen to yourself? here’s a news flash for you, the majority of the population have shitty credit. look at the economy, millions of people, like myself, have been hit hard with layoffs. when you take a paycut, you get behind on bills. you must be one of the lucky ones who haven’t been affected by the economy. i stated a simple comment, so back off and don’t disrespect.

        • ATL guy

          Ya sure pal blame your shitty credit on everything else but your poor planning and habits.
          I have shitty credit and higher deposits are part of the game.
          Be a man and own it

          • Nemesys06

            yeah, i planned on getting laid off. i planned on losing my pay. it’s my fault people are stupid and buy import cars instead of supporting the american economy and buy american. as for the deposits, i understand making people with bad credit pay a deposit fee, however i am stating that $1000 is ridiculous. look at sprint, they charge $100. tmobile didn’t charge anything. i stated my opinion, no need for your useless, uninformed personal attacks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784730346 Jimmy Barker

            Do you even know what you are talking about? He is just saying that the deposits are outragous 400 for a FUCKING PHONE PLAN maybe an apartment or something but a FUCKING PHONE PLAN no that is crazy. if you rent a house your deposit is as much as one months rent why should this be any different ok my plan is 95 a month rounded up i wouldn’t expect my deposit to be over 100 ill own up to my shit but they need to be realistic you fucking trust fund baby does your mommy still wipe your ass too or just pay for your phone

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784730346 Jimmy Barker

        sorry not everyone has a mommy and daddy or a trust fund to take care of themselves so shut the hell up just because i have 1 outstanding hospital bill from my appendix busting which i make monthly payments on doesn’t mean i should have to pay a 400 dollar deposit on a already expensive monthly plan which their plans would be decent if they made data unlimited and knocked it down to at least 25 a month

  • ATL guy

    Boast mobile, Virgin, metro PCS……

  • ATL guy

    People want more and somehow think they should pay less as if companies somehow owe them.

    • Androidess

      No, just not more for a brand that is not known for good customer service or bgreat android phones, but IS known for data caps, Steve Jobs-like arrogance & higher pricing for It’s “more bars in LESS places.” That’s all, buddy.

  • Anonymous

    Off topic, but can I get a “fuck yeah” for Phandroid using the Disqus system?

  • Justin

    Please contact the FCC and voice your concern. You can find their contact page by googling “contact fcc”

  • MIKED00734

    The FCC wont let this merger go ahead, they are already bring up the point of AT&T /Cingular and how that went .Idont see this as happening as AT&T is too big now

  • Anonymous

    I’ll throw the obvious out there. Verizon will never buy Sprint… Because Comcast or Google will step in and do it first. If Comcast were smart, they’d get into it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m also kind of hoping this doesn’t happen, because, yes, their admission is correct. ATT is in a bit of a pickle. Tmobile was about to kick their rear ends and cause them much defection with their HSPA+ network. TMobile didn’t even really NEED a true 4G network, the upgrades would have made people happy for years. This truly sucks for the consumer. I’d have rather seen Comcast buy into TMobile (or Sprint) and get some extra competition going on by getting some serious money in the picture.

  • Anonymous

    Other sources are reporting that At&t will have to pay 3 billion to Tmobile if the deal does not go through. Yes I know that sounds absurd but so are huge buyouts like this so it may be a possibility. With that knowledge it would seem that AT&T has done their homework and expects the plan to go through without a hitch.