Plan B for T-Mobile?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Does T-Mobile USA have a plan B without an AT&T sale?, asks ZDNet. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have the iPhone. T-Mobile doesn’t.

According to Bernstein Research senior analysts Robin Bienenstock and Craig Moffett, T-Mobile’s options have dwindled. While a Sprint merger might be politically troublesome, T-Mobile could merge with a cable operator, says Bernstein.

Comcast and TW Cable bought a 20MHz block of AWS spectrum through their holding company SpectrumCo. They’re not using that spectrum. It covers 80 percent of the U.S. and T-Mobile’s existing AWS towers could host it. Fast and cheap. A no brainer.

The Justice Department sued AT&T and T-Mobile USA unit on Aug. 31, saying a combination of the two companies would “substantially” reduce competition. The DOJ’s complaint (pdf, 25 pages), was filed in federal court. Seven states and Puerto Rico joined the effort to block the deal.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle has scheduled the trial for February. AT&T is also defending against private antitrust lawsuits objecting to the deal filed by Sprint and Cellular South. Judge Huvelle hasn’t decided when those cases will be tried.

The Justice Department said that the proposed $39 billion transaction would substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless telecommunications services across the United States. Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the merger would result in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for the millions of American consumers who rely on mobile wireless services in their everyday lives.

Light Reading explores What AT&T Loses Without T-Mobile. That would be about $6B in forfeit fees.

Some spectrum has been languishing at the FCC for years. That includes the AWS-3 spectrum at 2155-2175 MHz, H block spectrum at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz and J block spectrum at 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz, and the 700 MHz D block at 758-763 MHz and 788-793 MHz.

T-Mobile USA has lots of options.

  • T-Mobile and Dish could merge their AWS and satellite frequencies CREATING 4G spectrum. Dish owns 40 MHz of spectrum from ICO and TerreStar.
  • T-Mobile could buy 25MHz of AWS-3 spectrum then partner with cable operators who have another 19 MHz of unused AWS spectrum. That’s another 40 MHz.
  • More than 100 MHz is available on the 2.6 GHz band. T-Mobile, along with Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon and media conglomerates might pay $1B each to buy 40 MHz.

AT&T and Verizon need spectrum. A merger won’t help because T-Mobile is using nearly all their spectrum. But more than 150 MHz IS available. Right now. Today.

AT&T might serve their stockholders better if they spent one tenth as much — buying spectrum. Dish Networks, cable operators, and Sprint/Clearwire have more than 150 MHz they’re not using. T-Mobile could buy 40 MHz for less than $4B. That’s plan “B”.

Related Dailywireless articles include; AT&T Defends Jobs Claim, AT&T Looking To Sell Spectrum?, Merger Salvage Plan by AT&T, AT&T: Selling Assets for Merger Approval?, DOJ Blocking AT&T/T-Mobile Merger, AT&T Merger: More Heat, AT&T Merger: Yea & Ney, FCC Receives Pro & Con Support for ATT Merger, LTE Spectrum: It’s War , Spectrum Drama: Made for TV,

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 10:29 am .

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