Soon there may be only once place to go for Americans who want to use their phone abroad: the monopoly GSM supplier will be AT&T Wireless. This is not just any old monopoly, though. It has a special place in American infamy. People who think they understand the United States, but only visit and have never lived there, are taken …
I guess this makes TAT&T
I really hope that this deal fails - the last thing that the US consumers need is fewer choices.
"launched in 2002"?
2002 was when T-Mobile acquired VoiceStream -- which itself acquired Omnipoint in 1999 -- which had been in the prepaid GSM business since 1996. I used the same prepaid GSM phone number from 1997 on, even though the company didn't call itself "T-Mobile" until five years later.
Gotta agree about the perceived horror of the Death Star, though!
This is a disaster for T-Mobile customers
AT&T is quite open that the motivation on their side is that their present infrastructure is saturated in cities like New York and San Fransisco. AT&T said that even if they get the approval to build more towers, it would take them about 5 years to get to where they'd be overnight with a T-Mobile acquisition. So for AT&T customers, they will see an improvement in service as AT&T starts piping service over the T-Mobile infrastructure. But the T-Mobile customers will only see a degradation, as the AT&T infrastructure will add nothing to their service as its already saturated. Add to the fact that AT&T charges higher rates for all services than T-Mobile does, this merger is just a giant screw of all existing T-Mobile customers on both price and service.
T-Mobile 3G doesn't share spectrum with AT&T 3G, so it'll be interesting to see how AT&T plans to use any networks that they acquire. I suspect they'll start switching off the T-Mobile frequencies to A) benefit iPhone users and B) 'motivate' T-Mobile users to buy new devices and give up their nice, old T-Mobile plans.
Welp, functional 3G in San Fransisco was nice while it lasted.
Depends on Apple, I think
If the iPhone 5 supports T-Mobile's AWS (1700/2100) spectrum as well as AT&T's existing frequency bands, then AT&T will be able to unload some of its network congestion onto T-Mobile's network and AT&T's customers will definitely benefit. As to the question of whether the iPhone 5 will support it, I don't know, and possibly nobody does other than Steve Jobs. Handsets do exist that support 3G at 850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz (most notably the Nokia N8 and a couple of other Nokias) and one thinks that Apple could manage this if they really want to, but do they really want to? I haven't the foggiest.
Certainly I think that post-merger, AT&T would like to be able to use T-Mobile's spectrum for 3G in addition to their own, because if they can manage it they will have far fewer congestion issues than they have now. However, it's up to the handset manufacturers.
"Two giant, animatronic doner kebabs"
serious question- why LTE when TMo's HSPA+ hits 21 Mbit?
Title says it all. I realize the number of places in the US where you can get 21mbit HSPA+ is severely limited, but this is my question.
Why invest in LTE at all if consumers if it seems to be there in HSPA+? Presumably TMo built their HSPA+ capability for far less than a conversion to LTE would cost. Is gaining access to this technology AT&T's real goal, and if not why shouldn't it be?
And I realize that 21Mbit isn't enough for 'tomorrow' but HSPA+ looks set to cruise to 84Mbit and beyond, supposedly to a theoretical max of 672Mbit. That sounds pretty good to me, despite LTE Advanced talking some 3+Gbit future state.
LTE -> LTE Advanced (TRUE 4G)
The reason for the LTE rollout is that it makes for an easy transition to the next step: LTE Advanced. LTE Advanced is technically the only wireless standard capable of meeting the ITU's actual definition of a 4G network (the most important part is being capable of a sustained 100MBit/sec data rate). Thing is, you can roll out LTE Advanced on existing LTE hardware.
What AT&T Wireless Services referred to as "TDMA" was actually the D-AMPS standard (IS-54) developed by Bell Labs. Both it and GSM were 2G cellular technologies that used a time division multiple access scheme (TDMA).
For those of you across the Pond who never heard of it, D-AMPS was a digital extension of the old AMPS analog standard that ran on the 850MHz band. It would have been akin to taking NMT or B-Netz and making GSM backwards in-band compatible with them. They even tweaked it to support SMS texting (IS-136).
AT&T Wireless Services started migrating from D-AMPS to GSM about a year before they were bought out by Cingular. Very few phones from AT&T at the time supported GSM, so the author of the article was lucky to have all that bandwidth to himself. AT&T even offered some funky phones that supported both networks - I owned a Nokia 6340 GAIT phone that supported analog AMPS, digital D-AMPSv2 (IS-136) and GSM.
And the wires
Brace yourself for a stream of profanity then ask people what they think of AT&T wired products. This isn't just about mobile phones. Buying T-Mobile eliminates one more escape path for sufferers of AT&T DSL and home phone service.
already did my homework...
...looks like I'll switch to Virgin Mobile. Damn cheap voice plan with unlimited data. But I have a lot of GSM phones to sell now.
Last I heard, hell has NOT frozen over, so I won't be going back to at&t/AT&T!
@me n u
Good luck with that.. since the addition of Android phones, Virgin Mobile hasn't been able to keep their data network up and running. The Sprint network proper seems okay, so it's unclear what's going on, but I wouldn't put my money there right now. Wait and see; maybe they'll fix it, but I'm not holding my breath.
Aren't they wonderful?
Just say NO.
AT&T gives the giant middle finger to T-Mobile customers
According to (dis)Associated Press, AT&T announced they will abandon T-Mobile 3G service and all customers using 3G will have to buy new handsets.
Now that's how you build customer loyalty and provide excellent service.
Loathing for AT&T
One minor correction -- the CDMA carriers do sell phones that have both CDMA and GSM. If they even bother to lock the GSM side, they will give you an unlock code right away (the CDMA carriers here don't lock the CDMA side, the service provider code is 000000.) I have a Droid 2 Global right now. This does considerably limit choice of phones though.
People here do not loathe AT&T because it is an ex-monopoly, although it doesn't help! -- the old Bell system at least provided reliable service, albeit pricey. AT&T, they somehow even manage to screw up DSL, numerous reports of service problems, and now they are talking about imposing 150GB caps on DSL, *and 250GB on FIBER!!*. Making it rather pointless to buy some 24mbps plan when it just means you can blow through your cap that much faster.
Wireless -- AT&T has made one excuse after another after another for YEARS for poor service. When AT&T and Cingular merged, they calimed any problem was from "integration" (combining the networks), from the day they merged (even though they didn't start any work for over 6 months) until at least a year or so after they finished. They *still* blaim IPhones for any and all network problems they continue to have (even though they've had years to add capcity, and even though Android phones use MORE data but VZW, Sprint, T-Mobiles networks are not collapsing.).
The big problem, they run half-rate GSM *ALL THE TIME* in most markets (not just when the sites are busy enough to need it, you can call at 2AM and use half rate. It sounds BAD.) Combine that with improperly tight channel reuse (again, even when not needed) and it means if you drop below about 2 bars calls garble so badly as to be unusable -- greatly reducing the usable service area.
I fully expect one consequence of the T-Mobile merger will be, any day now, they will start blaiming any future service problems on "integrating" T-Mobile into their network (even though they won't start doing it for at least a year from now.)
To make it worse, they will umm, "stretch the truth" in their ads. They had one counteracting Verizon's ads about coverage, listing rural towns they cover. They SPECIFICALLY say they have coverage in Boseman, MT -- THEY DON'T, it's roaming. (They have a 40% roaming limit, or 150MB a month for data, if you exceed this they TERMINATE your service so it's not like it doesn't matter.) They have ads saying they have the fastest 4G network -- 1) It's not 4G. 2) It's not the fastest, they made sure to run their tests JUST before Verizon turned on LTE, then waited until after LTE came out to run the ads. This adds to the hate for AT&T, people "in the know" catch them lying again and again and again.
One more thing -- CAPS. To try to help their network meltdown, AT&T went from unlimited data for $30 to *2GB* for $25. That's low for that much cash! As a bonus, even WITH a 2GB cap they STILL are telling people they must buy a seperate tethering package to use their own data! This made sense for unlimited, but when the data use is already limited? Hell no. They just assume everyone else will follow with phone data caps... nope! Sprint -- unlimited. T-Mobile -- throttles @1GB, but unlimited. VZW -- unlimited (recently, they said for new users, they'd throttle the heaviest users if and only if the cell site is busy. Word is the throttle point is 9GB.)
This is going to make people loathe AT&T that much more -- T-Mobile is less expensive than AT&T, provides much clearer voice quality, more reliable data (maybe, AT&T claims their data is finally working better recently).. less coverage, but they can roam when you're out of T-Mo coverage, and importantly hard data cap (last I heard T-Mo would throttle above 1GB. But AT&T sucks huge wads of cash out of your pocket past 2GB.) Many people fled AT&T for T-Mobile for just these reasons, this'll make people *HATE* AT&T that they flee AT&T, and AT&T just buys them back.
@R.E.H., a little clarity -- I read in hofo that some Virgin Mobile users found they could get to *Virgin Mobiles* mobile support site but not the rest of the internet. The fact that this one site loads fine means to me, as you say, Sprint is fine, the data runs from Sprint's site to some central network operation center run by Virgin Mobile fine, but the internet connection there is completely overloaded. This seems like good news, upgrading *one* internet connection should be a cheap and easy fix. The bad news, why hasn't it happened yet when there've been reported problems for months?
Finally, regrading RBOCs. Out of all of them in the breakup, we're now down to 3.
AT&T is composed of (among other non-bells) southwestern bell (later called SBC), Pacific Telesis (operated pacific bell and nevada bell), SNET (not bell co but "southern new england telephone"), Ameritech (chicago area), and Bellsouth.
Verizon is composed of NYNEX (New York), Bell Atlantic, and GTE (an independent.)
Both AT&T and Verizon have of course bought plenty of other companies, including numerous cell phone carriers (back through the 80's and 90s, there were TONS of cell cos that would cover like a couple of counties, or part of the state, or whatever.)
USWest is still seperate, they merged with Qwest (who owned fiber optics) and renamed to Qwest then.
Cincinatti Bell, despite the "Bell" in the name, was not owned by AT&T. It's still seperate too.
Don't forget that Verizon Wireless also came from the big breakup--Bell Atlantic, I believe.
As a T-Mobile user, wouldn't there be expanded coverage as a consolation prize? I use T-Mobile for my personal phone but AT&T for work. In the city, where I live, T-Mobile is fine but not as great when I get outside of the city, where I work, let alone the country, where my family is.
I'm not arguing that the expanded coverage is worth having your network becoming swamped or shut off though.
I specifically choose T-Mobile because they weren't AT&T or Verizon, so I am hoping that this doesn't go through.
Verizon was in fact the result of a MERGER, not a breakup. Bell Atlantic and GTE merged horizontally to form Verizon. Verizon Wireless is currently a joint venture majority-owned by Verizon (55%, thus the name), with Vodafone holding the remaining 45% stake.