Friday, July 27, 2012

Wall Street Holds the Phone

Earlier this week, Sprint reported that their business is alive and well and can handle the challenges ahead, not the least of which is the turn down of the Nextel network and the turn up of a new LTE broadband network.  There was a time when it looked like there would be only 2 major carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless.  The chances are much better today that it won't happen.  The question now is whether it will be 4 or 3 carriers who survive.

T-Mobile has a few warm fuzzies from the failed AT&T takeover in the form of cash and more roaming agreements, but they lost what Wall Street calls "momentum."  T-Mobile has a handful of hoops to jump through including getting Apple to add T-Mobile's 4G band at 1700 MHz to the iPhone.  Their future lies on bottom line growth and that may be hard to improve.  Yes, this means T-Mobile may still face a new merger or takeover.

Some marriages involve awfully long courtships.  Cricket and MetroPCS have been dating for a long time but just can't commit.  T-Mobile's list of desirable partners is even shorter, and the best looking man on that list is Sprint.  At one time it might have been China Mobile or America Movil, the parent of TracFone, or maybe some good looker from Europe.  But each suitor now looks a bit less desirable mostly due to their lack of pocket change.  For now, that's a good thing for most of us.  The FCC calls T-Mobile a "disrupter" and credits them with creating greater competition in the wireless market.  They should be able to continue that role until Wall Street tells them they must marry up or suffer 'old maid' status.  So far, I still like the old maid, and the motorcycle she rode in on.

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