What the AT&T/T-Mobile merger means
PHILADELPHIA - March 21, 2011 (WPVI) -- If AT&T acquires T-Mobile, it will surpass Verizon and become the country's largest wireless carrier with a total of 130 million subscribers. But the big question is, what will that mean for those customers?
"It allows the combined companies to have a lower cost structure, to provide the lowest cost per megabyte in the industry as we roll out to 95% of the country. So we will be able to give great quality and at the same time give customers great value."
That was the word as AT&T executives lined up at an online news conference to highlight the benefits of their proposed $39 billion purchase of rival carrier T-Mobile. But experts at Consumer Reports Magazine are concerned about a possible merger because they say T-Mobile customers currently enjoy some pretty low pricing.
"We think one of the issues here is whether or not benefit of T-Mobile as kind of price leader in this marketplace might be lost," said Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports Magazine.
Consumer Reports also believes consumers should be concerned about quality. Neither T-Mobile nor AT&T has done well in the magazine's customer satisfaction surveys.
"AT&T has been the worst carrier in America, in our last survey at least, clearly at the bottom of the pack. And for T-Mobile customers, this raises the possibility that service could go down to the AT&T level," said Reynolds.
"Customers will see a difference. Their experience will improve," said AT&T executive John Stankey.
There are some technical hurdles to clear before the companies can merge wireless systems and before T-Mobile customers can get the iPhone on AT&T. And even before that, the deal must first be cleared by federal regulators.
"This will likely take quite some time," said Reynolds. "It will be very likely into 2012 before this is approved."
This merger is something everyone in the wireless industry is watching closely. Consumer's Union is planning to raise its concerns directly to the federal government.
cell phones, economy, at&t, verizon, consumer reports, consumer news, nydia han
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