AT&T buyout of T-Mobile will make them the largest U.S. cell carrier
Over the weekend AT&T announced they're buying T-Mobile in a $39-billion deal with Deutsche Telekom. Although both companies have approved the sale it still has hurdles to clear with the FCC and FTC, but all indications are that the sale will go through as planned. So if you're an AT&T or T-Mobile customer what does this mean?
In the short term you won't notice a difference since it will take months to close the deal. But when it's over, AT&T will be the largest mobile carrier in the U.S., adding about 34 million T-Mobile customers to more than 85 milion existing ones, ending with a customer base just shy of 120 million. That will put them well ahead of Verizon by about 25 million and leave us with three main players in the mobile arena, counting Sprint as number three.
Not only is this going to help AT&T expand their customer base but it's going to give them a big jump start on their deployment plans for 4G LTE. When the deal closes they'll be getting a lot of installed hardware that will increase their network saturation by a large margin, saving lots of time. Already known for excellent data speeds on their 3G network, they should see welcome improvements in voice calls once they take control of the additional cell towers. AT&T says the deal will enable them to deploy 4G LTE to 95-percent of the U.S, increasing original plans by 46.5 million to reach a total of 294 million people.
These before and after images, provided by AT&T, show the projected change in 4G LTE saturation that will occur as a result of the acquistion of T-Mobile.
What will happen to T-Mobile? For now we don't know. It could become the next Alltel and disappear entirely or AT&T could keep it around as a smaller outlet for cheap phones and plans. For now, though, customers on both carriers won't even notice a difference. T-Mobile has posted a Q&A page with answers to popular questions, including a defintive "no" on whether T-Moble customers can expect to get the iPhone now.