What will the future hold?
Fuzzy reception: There's nothing clear about the union of AT&T and T-Mobile
By now, you've heard the wails of despair from T-Mobile subscribers — and the yelps of glee from AT&T diehards — about cellular behemoth AT&T acquiring the beloved T-Mobile for $39 billion.
It was nothing short of The Shot Heard 'Round the Telecom World. T-Mobile-ites speculated on the anticipated loss of the superior customer service they've come to rely upon, and the AT&T faithful began to hope that their coverage would finally improve, once and for all.
Both camps can hypothesize until the SIM cards come home, but what does this actually mean if you're a part of either network?
First of all, everyone needs to take a deep breath. Neither T-Mobile nor AT&T users will feel the effects for at least 365 days. The deal won't close until a year from now, which means T-Mobile won't get the iPhone until at least 2012.
Sure, when a corporate giant like AT&T swallows a small fish like T-Mobile, the giant emerges a bit more galvanized as a result. But what happens to the fish?
If you ask T-Mobile, not a whole lot is going to change.
On its site, in a Q&A dedicated to dispelling a few merger myths, T-Mobile assures its loyal fan base that things are staying the same.
"T-Mobile USA continues to operate as an independent company," the company said. "The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile USA will offer an even stronger service to customers. Your T-Mobile USA device will operate the same in the future as it does today."
Not according to AT&T. AT&T told the Associated Press that T-Mobile's 3G airwaves will be "repurposed" for 4G after acquisition — essentially leaving T-Mobile 3G phones in the dust. The only solution will be to procure phones that use AT&T's frequencies.
Now that sounds like a pretty sizeable change to us.
So which provider comes out the winner here? It depends on who you're rooting for. If you think anything about this deal is clear, we'd like to borrow your spectacles to de-fog the view.
For now, all we have are a lot of guesses and a slew of conflicting, hazy answers at best. But we'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter — logical to harebrained — nonetheless.
Weigh in, dear reader. What does the joint future of AT&T and T-Mobile hold?