Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AT&T-Mobile High Points

Even though we oppose the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile, we feel the deal may be inevitable and need to look for the bright spots. We are pleased that few people find any bright spots, especially a number of people in power. However, a recent Wireless Week article noted a number of carriers that will benefit by gaining T-Mobile customers who will not want to be absorbed into AT&T, especially at current AT&T prices. Anything that benefits small carriers helps all wireless users...but maybe not this time.

Another left-handed benefit was voiced on CNBC by show host Mark Haines while interviewing AT&T President and CEO—AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets Ralph de la Vega. Haines inserted in the interview that indeed AT&T will be able to keep wireless prices low for a long time...implying by extension that AT&T can keep prices lower than competitors, effectively driving them out of business. So much said without saying it, right? But for the many years that might take, wireless customers just may enjoy lower prices. Jim Cramer on the same network reviewed the benefits for wireless investors. It's short-term thinking, but could it be enough to get us through the fears of a duopoly until the next big thing comes around?

That kind of predatory pricing is what caused the initial breakup of the original AT&T. Even the feds fear that AT&T is assembling the pieces back together again (a la Humpty Dumpty), which may eventually require yet another breakup. After contemplating the alternatives, it seems more likely that our white knight may come from overseas instead of the US. Is it too much to hope that a German company will sell to a French company, like France Telecom (FTE)? France to help the there's a concept.

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