What AT&T-T-Mobile deal could mean for customers

(AP) -- AT&T Inc. has agreed to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, but the deal isn't set to close until a year from now, and it will likely face tough regulatory scrutiny. Here's what a completed deal could mean for customers:

- Bigger choice of phones for . T-Mobile, as a much smaller carrier than AT&T, doesn't get as many exclusives on top-line phones, and it doesn't have the iPhone. This won't be a big benefit to T-Mobile subscribers who don't have contracts - if they want the iPhone today, they can sign up with AT&T or Verizon Wireless. But subscribers under contract would find it easier to upgrade to an iPhone.

- Fewer pricing plans to choose from. T-Mobile and AT&T have different offerings, some of which might disappear from the market.

- No more unlimited data plans. AT&T has stopped offering unlimited data plans in favor of plans with monthly data usage caps and overage fees. T-Mobile USA still offers "unlimited" data for smartphones for $30 per month, but slows down downloads after 5 gigabytes of traffic in a month. If the deal closes, current "unlimited" subscribers would likely be grandfathered in, but AT&T would probably stop offering the plan to new subscribers.

- Better network coverage. Combining the two networks will improve performance is some areas, because there will be more towers available. However, today's AT&T phones can't use T-Mobile's 3G wireless data network, and vice versa, because they run on different frequencies.

- Wider rural broadband coverage. AT&T is pledging to increase spending on the construction of a new ultrafast broadband network by $8 billion, to cover rural areas.

- The big question is whether the combination would let AT&T, Verizon and Sprint raise prices on wireless service once competition from T-Mobile disappears. AT&T points out that prices have fallen through a decade of mergers in the industry, but public-interest groups are raising concerns.


Explore further

A loophole means unlimited data for AT&T iPhone

©2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Citation: What AT&T-T-Mobile deal could mean for customers (2011, March 21) retrieved 26 September 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2011-03-att-t-mobile-customers.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors