We all know that AT&T had the intention of buying out T-Mobile to effectively turn into the largest carrier in the US, but why did they want to do it? According to a filing with the FCC published on their MobilizeEverything site, they revealed the main reason for acquiring T-Mobile USA – to improve their network performance. Ever since they were the exclusive iPhone carrier in 2007, people have been flocking to their network just to get their hands on the device. It was only about 4 years later in 2011, February that Verizon came along and split up the burden of being the sole iPhone retailer. With AT&T reporting they sold over 3 million iPhones for Q1 2011, you can imagine how many more iPhones they were selling back then when they were the nation’s exclusive carrier of the phone.
A smartphone generates 24 times the mobile data traffic of a conventional wireless phone, and the explosively popular iPad and similar tablet devices can generate traffic comparable to or even greater than a smartphone. AT&T’s mobile data volumes surged by a staggering 8,000% from 2007 to 2010, and as a result, AT&T faces network capacity constraints more severe than those of any other wireless provider.
And it looks like AT&T won’t be able to dig themselves out of their iPhone-induced rut anytime soon without taking over another network – it would take much too long to expand their network by themselves. Taking over T-Mobile seems like the best solution. The takeover will ensure that consumers experience a “reduced number of dropped and blocked calls, increasing data speeds, improving in-building coverage, and dramatically expanding deployment of next-generation mobile technology.” So while on one hand, it looks like it would create a duopoly of the US wireless market between Verizon and AT&T-T-Mobile which is bad for consumers and smaller carriers, on the other hand it would make AT&T customers’ lives much better. What do you think – should the acquisition be allowed?