People across the mobile world today (at least in the US) are rejoicing and beginning to believe in the Justice system once again. A couple of weeks ago, we learned that a few internal documents from AT&T found their way into the media outlets. Basically, these documents went on to explain how the deal/buyout of T-Mobile by AT&T was nothing more than just a very elaborate (and expensive) way of getting rid of the competition. If the deal was to come through, AT&T would become the largest cell phone carrier in the country, much larger than its closest competitor, Verizon Wireless. On top of that, it would make the telecom giant the largest GSM carrier in the country and certainly the only one offering Nationwide coverage (there are smaller GSM carriers that are normally found in various States).
We all saw this since it was originally announced. This smelled like anti-trust/monopoly since the very beginning, and it took the FCC and the Justice Department a few months to arrive to this conclusion. Not because it was painfully obvious, or because of the compelling arguments cited in the lawsuit about T-Mobile being a crucial part of the equation (the relatively inexpensive one), but because they had evidence, out in the public, forcing them to not be able to turn a blind eye on it anymore. This does not end there, however. For those of you who are a bit in the sadistic side and love to see big corporations squirm under the heavy hammer of justice, you will be glad to know that if the lawsuit holds ground, it will cost the company a whooping 6 Billion dollars (there was a $3B for the breaking of the contract for either party, $2B for spectrum, and $1B for roaming agreements made with Magenta). On the good side of things, current T-Mobile customers will not be forced to change handsets either, as in order to “enjoy” the higher data speeds being offered by AT&T, you’d need to have a device that can work in the 1700 MHz band, which T-Mobile handsets do not support.
All of you know that I am partially opinionated in most of my articles. However, this is indeed something that completely makes me question the ability of some people to think things through. We live in an age where even government documents get leaked left and right (WikiLeaks, anyone?), yet some big wig over at AT&T’s legal department thought it would be a good idea to put their true intentions in writing. This was neither ethical business practices nor was it good for the customers (AT&T or T-Mobile), particularly as it would allow AT&T to do as they pretty much pleased with pricing, features, etc. With all due respect to AT&T, you deserve what you have coming for you.
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