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AT&T To Acquire T-Mobile From Deutsche Telekom 748

Posted by timothy
from the drei-ist-genug dept.
teh31337one writes "AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in cash and stocks. Press release here." Gripes one anonymous reader: "Americans will have even less choice now when it comes to cell phone carriers. Say good-bye to the one that had the best customer service and was most friendly towards Android and rooting."
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AT&T To Acquire T-Mobile From Deutsche Telekom

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  • Not gonna lie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:10PM (#35552290)
    This is bad.
    • by mcavic (2007672) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:41PM (#35552596)
      Not bad from where I stand. We have too many carriers, and I'd like to see US Cellular get absorbed next. Fewer carriers means more revenue for the remaining ones, and thus more money for upgrades. Also, fewer competing towers = less wasted infrastructure.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Right, because we all know that's what happened when AT&T merged with Cingular. Oh, wait, you say that the service got a lot worse when that happened? How could that possibly be, I mean it's not like AT&T would use the gains in efficiency to line its pockets while providing substandard service.

        Around here the problem is a lack of providers. I'd like to sign up with US Cellular, but they aren't available here. Around here we've got Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T. I think that Boost might be a

        • Re:Not gonna lie (Score:4, Informative)

          by FictionPimp (712802) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @03:05PM (#35552830) Homepage

          ATT recently bought (well a few years ago) centennial wireless. Everything was great until the last few months (for me the last 3 weeks). I'm not sure what they are doing, but areas where I used to get 5 bars (that were not att areas but centennial wireless areas) I now get 2 or 3 bars. Calls are being dropped in areas where I used to have the best service. Everyone I know who used to use centennial wireless is having the same problems. No signal, droppped calls, etc.

          I've been a long time ATT customer, but I'm thinking it's time for a change if this doesn't' improve in the next 5 months.

      • Re:Not gonna lie (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tridus (79566) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @04:01PM (#35553334) Homepage

        Fewer carriers means you can get a similar situation to Canada. We have "few carriers", and pay some of the highest prices on the planet for pathetically weak service.

        If you want more of that, by all means.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          AT&T should be broken up, not made larger. This is a disaster for the future of cellular communications, wireless internet and telecommunications generally.

          Time to start writing congress people and threatening to send money to their opponents if they don't put pressure on the Justice Department and the Commerce Committee to stop this. That has a surprising effect on them. Nothing else seems to do anything, but they get nervous when people say they're going to send money to their opponents.

    • Re:Not gonna lie (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @04:11PM (#35553398)
      Man, I left AT&T for T-Mobile. I hate, repeat hate AT&T. This is bad!
  • by straponego (521991) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:13PM (#35552306)
    Less competition will lead to greater efficiencies and lower prices for consumers. Why are you all laughing? There's a first time for everything. And on this one, we're DUE!
    • by bmo (77928)

      They must love you at the casino.

      Doubling down, eh?

      --
      BMO

  • SBC service and connectivity with T-Mobile handsets.
  • by dwhitaker (1500855) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:14PM (#35552322) Homepage
    As a former AT&T customer and a current T-Mobile customer, I am very disappointed by this. However, the deal is still a year away and subject to regulatory approval.Perhaps we can hope that the government makes a move to protect consumers for a change?
  • Monopoly (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:15PM (#35552332)

    Are we ever going to break up AT&T?

    • Re:Monopoly (Score:4, Informative)

      by lrobert98 (1936734) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#35552342)
      You mean again? :-)
      • SBC Communications (formerly Southwestern Bell) bought them in 2005 and renamed themselves AT&T since the name was already better known (as a source of overwhelming evil, sure, but still, better market recognition is better market recognition).
    • Whats funny is AT&T had to divest itself of some markets when AT&T Wireless and Cingular merged. Most of those markets were bought up by SunCom... which T-Mobile bought to increase coverage. I wonder if they will have to divest those markets again.
  • by arashi no garou (699761) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:16PM (#35552338)

    I switched to T-Mobile strictly to get away from AT&T's bullshit yet stay with a GSM carrier! And I love T-Mobile's support as well, though AT&T's wasn't that bad to be honest.

    This still stinks to no end though. And the worst part is, I can't take my N900 to any other US carrier, as only ATT/TMO is GSM here.

    Fuck.

  • Well, clearly, there can be only one.

    This sucks, IMNSHO.

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:19PM (#35552366)

    The free market will save us!

    Any minute now...

  • by Drakino (10965) <d_slashdotNO@SPAMminiinfo.net> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:20PM (#35552372) Journal

    I gave up hope on the mobile industry in the US long ago. When T-Mobile and AT&T couldn't even use compatible frequencies for 3G, the hope of cross carrier compatibility died a long time ago. GSM is only great when you can buy an unlocked phone, choose a provider and pop in a SIM, then change on a whim while paying lower monthly prices due to the lack of a subsidy. This is one of the many benefits Europeans enjoy, along with good roaming agreements to ensure they can make a call even if their own provider doesn't cover the area well. I still look back to 2004 when I had an unlocked Sony Ericsson phone from T-Mobile that I used in Europe for a bit. Bought a SIM in London, traveled into the Netherlands, around Germany and a bit into Switzerland. At one point, my phone saw 9 different providers it was willing to use for emergency calls, and 4 or so of those it was willing to roam on for everything else.

    Since none of those benefits ever came to the US, I hold some hope in that this merger will bring some good. AT&T is pledging a bigger LTE rollout, including to rural parts of the US. This is desperately needed, as many rural areas have dial up and satellite based options only. Dialup is near unusable these days, and satellite adds too much latency, negating benefits from Web 2.0 based sites, and conferencing/communication software. Low caps also prevent rural users from taking advantage of services like Netflix.

  • CDMA is your daddy now! :)

    This is SO not what I was hoping would happen. I was hoping T-Mo USA would buy Clearwire for the spectrum and then upgrade all their stuff to LTE. *sigh*

    I guess all we need at this point is for Verizon to buy Sprint and convert all the towers to LTE with that claimed 'software update'.

    The pollyanna part of me wonders if AT&T adding T-Mo's towers to their network could solve their problems, but I'm not sure it was ever a coverage issue, was it?

  • We had been with Centennial Wireless for years, until they were bought out by a combination of AT and T and Verizon. Our region went to Verizon. Thus, as we have to be on a GSM network, we were faced with a choice between AT and T and T-mobile. We went with T-mobile, as AT and T are notoriously unreliable around these parts. T-mobile also offered a much better deal and great prices on great phones. However, if the AT and T and T-mobile deal goes through, we will have no alternatives. The reason we require b
    • by Kizeh (71312)
      Actually, if you have a 3G/UMTS phone that uses normal international frequencies, they now work in Japan as well. I've used a Nokia E61, Sony-Ericsson K600i and will be taking my N8 with me on the next trip. Also, T-Mobile had much better (still exorbitant, though) international roaming rates.
    • We went with T-mobile, as AT and T are notoriously unreliable around these parts.

      It's not like the T-Mobile towers will be taken down by a cackling AT&T. If you get good reception now, you should continue to get good reception as AT&T also starts using the local T-Mobile towers... in fact I see that as being the one bright spot here, that the GSM network towers across the country are combining and this should really help customers of both carriers get better reception (and AT&T customers get be

      • by hedwards (940851)

        And yet that's more or less what happened when AT&T acquired Cingular. Pretty quickly the quality of reception diminished and even places which had decent reception got worse.

        Additionally, T-Mobile and AT&T don't use the same spectrum for 3G which means that anybody who had a phone for the T-Mobile network suddenly won't be getting 3G.

    • by Drakino (10965)

      LTE requires SIMs too. Currently, Verizon's LTE network is data only, with voice still going over their CDMA network. This will change in time to have voice also going over LTE.

  • Well, POOP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:27PM (#35552430) Homepage

    I have been a loyal T-Mobile customer for 8 years, and I've NEVER regretted the move for a single second.

    I pay $50 a month for nation-wide no roaming coverage, 500 texts, IM, international calling, 600 free anytime minutes and free nights and weekends. NOBODY has a deal as good as that for what you get. Not Verizon, not AT&T, not Sprint...nobody.

    I loved that T-Mobile would sign contracts with "small fry" to extend their coverage to areas previously untouched. When I moved, my cellphone said "Sun-Com" for nearly 2 years, but I never paid a penny more. They finally put a T-M tower in my area, and service has been outstanding!

    Now I have to move to the Death Star?

    And be lied to, over-charged and spied upon?

    Fuck you, AT&T.

    Maybe I should go pre-paid.

    • Maybe I should go pre-paid.

      That's what I am considering as well. My contract runs out around the time this deal is scheduled to close, so I wouldn't have any ETFs to worry about. The question now is, are there any decent prepaid GSM carriers in Georgia, that also offer good 3G data rates?

    • Virgin mobile is half that price, with unlimited internet for your smartphone and no contracts. I used to be a T-mobile customer until I realized it wasn't really that great of a deal. I've found sprint's network (which is what virgin uses) to have better coverage than T-mobile as well.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated&ema,il> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:27PM (#35552442) Journal
    Negatives:
    • Data and voice plans will go up at least $10 more per month.
    • T-Mobile was the only carrier that had truly unlimited tethering. (You paid for 5GB buckets; they capped your bandwidth after that.) That will go away.
    • The only major GSM provider in the US will be AT&T, unless Verizon switches to GSM and forces millions to migrate. (Unlikely to be the opposite case.)

    Positives:

    • We'll finally have massive 3G/4G coverage.
    • T-Mobile annually won awards for their incredible customer service. Hopefully AT&T adopts their paradigms.
    • With AT&T being the only GSM carrier in the US, manufacturer agreements will be way easier and, thus, we'll finally be getting a vast selection of high-end phones. (T-Mobile has been steadily improving in this front.)
    • HOPEFULLY AT&T customers will get UMA (GAN), probably one of T-Mobile's best and most exclusive features. They would be incredibly short-sighted to throw that technology away.

    One could argue that smartphone handsets might be more "locked down" over time, but I never saw AT&T handsets being more locked down in any way than their T-Mo counterparts. They might throw more crapware in (can't believe I'm using that term for my phone), but as long as rooting exists, there will be ways of removing them.

    While I'm making armchair predictions, Verizon will buy Sprint within the next two years. Sprint has been losing customers for a while now and their WiMAX technology isn't taking off fast enough. I hope the FCC does something to control the monopolies that will ensue when that happens. This should get interesting really quickly.

    • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:54PM (#35552720) Journal

      # T-Mobile annually won awards for their incredible customer service. Hopefully AT&T adopts their paradigms.

      Yeah, good luck with that. Chance of that happening: 0%

      # With AT&T being the only GSM carrier in the US, manufacturer agreements will be way easier and, thus, we'll finally be getting a vast selection of high-end phones. (T-Mobile has been steadily improving in this front.)

      Again, good luck with that. AT&T offers iPhones, what else do you want? You don't want that commie Android system do you?

      # HOPEFULLY AT&T customers will get UMA (GAN), probably one of T-Mobile's best and most exclusive features. They would be incredibly short-sighted to throw that technology away.

      The main reason I like T-Mobile. I can travel internationally and pay for calls as if I were still in the USA.

    • by pablo_max (626328) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @03:14PM (#35552906)

      A switch to GSM is irrelevant.
      All carriers will switch to LTE, which, right there in the name, is the long term evolution for GSM/UMTS.

      What does this mean to you?
      Simple. Sprint (after they switch to LTE),Virizon and ATT will all be on the same tech.
      Of course, you will say that they are on separate bands. So what. Nearly all phones which you buy will support ALL implemented LTE bands. It wont matter a bit where you are with LTE>
      Basically, US is getting on board with the rest of the planet. Well..all but Japan who will stay with Nttdocomo version of LTE.
      Still ATT does suck for customer service and stealing your money.
      But hey...You guys in the US dont appear to give a fuck about what your elected officials do, so dont start crying when shit happens.

  • Americans will have even less choice now when it comes to cell phone carriers. Say good-bye to the one that had the best customer service and was most friendly towards Android and rooting.

    All I can say is - at least it wasn't Verizon. I left them for T-Mobile a number of years ago, specifically because of bad customer support and absurd restrictions (such as not letting you use a phone's Bluetooth capabilities to upload your address book and calendar).

    This definitely sucks, though.

  • so.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Carebears (1867786) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:28PM (#35552448)
    AT&T&T
  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:33PM (#35552500)
    Now we celebrate them! All hail the invisible hand!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maztuhblastah (745586)

      Now we celebrate them! All hail the invisible hand!

      Jesus. The amount of anti-capitalism smugness in these comments is amazing.

      Look, the US telecom market is about as far from the free market as you can get. The carriers get massive privileges in the form of land usage. They get massive amounts of tax breaks and subsidies, not to mention innumerable perks from local governments. To top it all off, the carriers don't even have to compete in an open market; the wireless spectrum is a heavily-licensed, extremely expensive, very limited resource doled out by

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lenski (96498)

        Real capitalism would be great. A real free market would be great. In the meantime, the people running large and influential piles of concentrated "capital" are bitching constantly about "freedom" while limiting everyone else's freedom as fast as they can.

        AT&T buying up the only other provider of GSM service in the country is a perfect example. For another example, note the generally available ROI on retail "capital investments".

        Capitalism my ass. This is plutocracy.

        Until the word "capitalism" is used

  • Ze Germans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:34PM (#35552526)

    Funny how T-Mobile is an underdog in the US and people seem to actually like them there (or hate them less than the competition). At home they're the ex-monopoly. They have the highest prices and the most civil-servant like customer service.

    They must be a different company in the US or the telecommunications sector is abysmal in the US.

    • Re:Ze Germans (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @03:03PM (#35552808)

      It's the abysmal telecommunications sector. Around here I've got 5 choices, 3 of them would require me to buy a new phone, and only T-Mobile and AT&T allow the use of random phones with a SIM. Sprint won't activate a phone that doesn't have it's logo silk screened on it, and none of the major providers competes for anything other than being somewhat less sucky than the others and depending upon inertia to carry them through.

      It's been getting progressively worse over the years. Even with GSM, AT&T uses a different portion of the spectrum for 3G than T-Mobile does, meaning that there's going to be a lot of people without 3G or having to buy new phones prematurely if this goes through.

  • by Jedi Holocron (225191) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @02:36PM (#35552550) Homepage Journal

    So, do we get a new round of AT&T vs. T-Mobile commercials? Does the hot T-Mobile Girl start making out with the AT&T Guy?

    Or do we see him trying to woo her?

    Who get's to be on top? *giggles*

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @03:04PM (#35552812) Homepage Journal
    Being as T-Mobile's reception sucks massively in many parts of the country, this can only be an improvement in call duration and quality for existing T-Mobile customers. I am a T-Mobile customer currently and look forward to perhaps finally dropping less than half of my calls in an average week. Maybe if I'm really, really, lucky, I'll even get decent reception at my house (where they have claimed 3 bars for years).

    Besides, T-Mobile has generally been a niche player in the US market in comparison to the number of customers on any other network.
  • by t2t10 (1909766) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @04:47PM (#35553682)

    The problem with the US cell phone market is that there is not enough competition, and competition is stymied by technical incompatibilities and bad contracts. This merger won't make things any worse.

    What really needs to be done is more regulation to allow a competitive market to function: all handsets must work on all carriers, customers need to be able to switch any time without penalties, and nebulous phone subsidies should be prohibited (carriers can still offer zero percent interest financing on phones, but the prices need to be transparent).

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.

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