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Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B 158

Posted by timothy
from the now-come-up-with-some-slogans dept.
First time accepted submitter Randy Davis (3683081) writes 'A report from Forbes says that Sprint buying T-mobile for $32 billion is almost done. This will clearly rock the top two telecommunication companies in the U.S., Verizon and AT&T. The news report also said that T-mobile will give up 67% share in exchange of 15% share of the merged company. Officials of both Sprint and T-Mobile are confident that FCC will approve this deal since AT&T's $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV got approved.' One reason for that confidence: "The predominant feeling is that combined T-Mobile and Sprint will be able to offer greater competition to Verizon and AT&T , ranked first and second respectively in the U.S. market. It will also give Sprint greater might in the upcoming 600 megahertz spectrum auction, especially since part of it excludes both Verizon and AT&T from bidding."

InforWorld puts the potential price even higher, and points out that the deal could still fall apart.
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Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:08AM (#47171481)

    Also, AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV has not yet been approved. Huge factual error in the summary.

  • The obvious problems here is #3/#4 merging meaning less consumer choice and higher prices and worse customer service ahead. Not that Sprint and T-Mobile aren't the worst already in customer service but this is a lose, lose all way around. I also can't help to think how Sprint's acquisition of another carrier, Nextel, didn't bode well for subscribers on that network either. I seriously doubt that the DOJ or the FCC will block it though since T-Mobile has been up for sale for quite awhile. Oh well folks,

    • by meustrus (1588597) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {surtsuem}> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:21AM (#47171567)
      Now I know that Sprint and T-Mobile don't have the best wireless coverage, but you're going to have to try a little harder to justify the claim they have the worst customer service. I was under the impression it was just a universally accepted fact that Verizon's customer service is the worst in the industry despite their otherwise excellent network service. As I've heard someone say, Verizon is the hottest girl at the prom, and worse, she knows it.
      • by Enry (630) <enryNO@SPAMwayga.net> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:28AM (#47171617) Journal

        It's all relative. I had Verizon and bailed to T-Mobile a few months ago. Both had okay customer service, though I did have a Verizon person intentionally hang up on me. I had to call T-Mobile on Monday to make changes to my plan - I couldn't make the changes via the web site, nor could I go to a store to do it - I had to call. The person I spoke with was pleasent enough and made the changes quickly.

        As you say, they have the best network, highest prices, confusing and awful plans, and terrible ETF/subsidy policies.

        • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:41AM (#47171723)

          until a few months ago, I was working at a cell phone tech company (android software and server back-end stuff) and we had to be able to test our stuff with all the local carriers.

          we moved our site and wouldn't you know, we could not get any t-mobile reception (and I have a t-mo phone). stepping out of the building didn't help much. putting a real antenna/repeater on the roof and repeating to the bottom floors didn't help!

          we had to rent hotel rooms nearby, for days and weeks at a time to do our testing. our corporate headquarters just did not have good cellphone reception (pretty much across the board but tmo was the most useless). if I got an EDGE connection, I felt lucky (sigh). if you can imagine a cell phone company not doing a check of the RF reachability before picking a new HQ, maybe its good for a laugh or two right now. was not very funny at the time, though.

          I do like the unlimited plan and no-contract of tmo but letting giants merge to become bigger giants NEVER helps the consumer.

          if this is allowed - and we all know it will be - its further proof of the utter detachment of those who make the laws and rules from those who are forced to live under them.

          • by Enry (630)

            Strange. I actually got a prepaid phone for a few months from TMO so I could try the data and voice connections (I'm in eastern MA). Connections everywhere were great except for a few parts in the western part of the state. In some cases I got better signal than my Verizon phone.

            My current Nexus 5 doesn't offer it, but the prepaid phone lets you do phone calls over wifi. Worked pretty well.

            I'm sure if I lived in a more rural area I'd go with Verizon for the coverage, but what I have now works good enoug

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              I live in northern NJ and use T-Mobile; the reception here is generally pretty good. I've heard coworkers complain about reception in my office building, but mine is great.

              My mom, who lives in a small town in VA, uses Verizon because everything else has terrible coverage there.

              It seems to me that Verizon is the best choice if you really need good coverage in more rural areas, but doesn't have that advantage in more urban areas.

              • Sounds about right. I've been with Verizon for a long time now. It's not that their pricing or customer service is better than anyone else's, or that I feel any particular loyalty to them, but they do one thing really right. They have at least useable coverage nearly everywhere. I've found very few places where I can't get a signal. Work is iffy (in all fairness, I'm in a basement and service quality seems to depend more on the individual phone than the carrier), and last time I was in the mountains of Colo
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            we had to rent hotel rooms nearby, for days and weeks at a time to do our testing

            And accounting actually believed that? Bravo. "No, really, we're, ummm, testing. Yes, that's right. Testing. No, the room service was necessary for the testing. And the champagne."

            but letting giants merge to become bigger giants NEVER helps the consumer

            That's just what they tell us. In reality, it's supposed to help shareholders, and ultimately ensure executive bonuses.

            Mr CEO, you've just axed 20,000 jobs, what now ....

            • we rented uhaul trucks and had them sit in the parking lot, in the middle of winter (bay area 'winter', but still) and we ran long power extension cords from the main building to the trucks. I kid you not! wish I was kidding. was pathetic to see. the company bought wool ski hats for the poor engineers who had to sit in the truck doing phone/apps testing. I joked that we had a bunch of mike nesmith's working for us...

              and the strange part was that being inside the uhaul STILL gave better reception than b

          • by Kaenneth (82978)

            Sounds like poor planning on your companies part...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Virtucon (127420)

        Naw, I'd put Sprint as dead last both from my friends, coworkers and family with T-mobile slightly ahead of them them in terms of customer service. I had Sprint for years, disconnected calls, no network access, slow network and then 3 years ago I cancelled. After 6 years with them they sent a $400 nasty gram saying I had 10 days to pay or they'd turn it over to collections even though my bill was current. The $400 was for a smartphone and early termination of that. I then went with T-Mobile who I'd been

      • by Jhon (241832)

        I've had nothing but good experience with T-Mobile customer service. I can't speak to Sprint's level of service, however.

      • As I've heard someone say, Verizon is the hottest girl at the prom, and worse, she knows it.

        I understood what you were saying up until that point, now I have no idea what you mean.

        • by meustrus (1588597)
          Well basically, and of course when you have to explain something like this it loses its bite...Verizon is what all the guys want, and knows it, so it gets away with acting as bitchy as it wants to. I only repeat the saying because it seems to aptly describe Verizon, not because I'm personally a fan of gender-stereotype humor.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        Sprint and T-Mobile don't have the best wireless coverage [...] As I've heard someone say, Verizon is the hottest girl at the prom, and worse, she knows it.

        Sprint has free roaming onto Verizon's network wherever theirs isn't available. If you really need great coverage in remote areas, but don't want to pay through the nose for it, sign-up with Sprint (proper Sprint. Not Boost/Virgin/MVNOs/etc) and keep using Verizon's towers. In-fact, RepublicWireless actively promotes this aspect of their dirt-cheap ce

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by apcullen (2504324)
      actually if sprint and t-mobile combine their networks they might be able to compete with verizon, which is a good thing for everybody. right now each company only competes in certain markets.
      • So then... what the hell was stopping them from merging? It's not like they'd be defiling the field of competition, and it's not like Washington is erring on the side of too much competition in mobile markets.
    • Not that Sprint and T-Mobile aren't the worst already in customer service...

      They aren't, or at least T-Mobiles not so bad. Verizon... boy, there's a company with some terrible customer service.

      What worries me more is that Sprint is buying T-Mobile, and not the other way around. Though, I don't know why anyone would want to buy Sprint. My impression is that their customer service isn't so bad, but... boy, there's a company with some incompetent management.

      • by Hodr (219920)

        Sprint MVNOs offer some of the best deals in the US. I currently pay $10/mo for 400 Minutes, 400 Texts, and 300MB of data using RingPlus.

        If they continue with the MVNO model and add T-Mobile towers to the network, that sounds pretty great to me.

    • by BronsCon (927697)
      I left AT&T's superior coverage for T-Mobile's superior customer service. I'm not going to say they're perfect because, let's face it, they're not; I've had billing issues with them, but nothing on the recurring-have-to-call-every-month-to-get-a-credit-because-they-refuse-to-fix-the-underlying-problem scale I had with AT&T. Strangely, my phone also seems to work in more places on T-Mobile than it did on AT the only place I have spotty coverage is in my office, where my AT&T phone only worked bec
    • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:15AM (#47172019) Journal

      The obvious problems here is #3/#4 merging meaning less consumer choice and higher prices and worse customer service ahead.

      CHOICE: 2 bowls of candy, and 2 bowls of steaming dog crap, isn't a lot of "consumer choice". If a merger turns that into 3 bowls of candy, then consumers will have MORE choice as a result of the merger. That's a big "IF," but both outcomes are possible.

      PRICES: While prices could rise a bit, AT&T and Verizon are both desperate to get a foothold in the prepaid cellular market. To do so, they have dirt-cheap service plans that are nearly competitive with Sprint and T-Mobile, without that whole lousy coverage issue. I don't see how SprinTMobile will be able to raise their prices much, without losing all their customers to pre-paid plans from the big two.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        We don't have the choice of any bowls of candy. We only have 4 bowls of steaming crap of various kinds. One's dog crap, one's cow crap, one's horse crap, and one's cat crap (the stinkiest of all; any cat lover will agree with me on this).

        This merger will only give us 3 bowls of steaming crap, and instead of more herbivore crap, we're going to get more carnivore crap.

        • One's dog crap, one's cow crap, one's horse crap, and one's cat crap (the stinkiest of all; any cat lover will agree with me on this).

          You have obviously never been to a hog farm, cat crap is like smelling roses by comparison.

        • by _Ludwig (86077)

          Pound for pound, horse crap is maybe the least offensive crap in the animal kingdom. Horse piss, on the other hand...

  • by cheesybagel (670288) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:17AM (#47171545)

    But they would have to give back some spectrum which would go back for sale to someone else.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Joe Gillian (3683399)

      The thing is, that wouldn't really help. If they give up spectrum, it'll just be bought out by AT&T or Verizon, either through themselves or through shell corporations. Now, if they had to give back both spectrum and exclusive rights to some of their infrastructure so that competitors can come in, that would be a fix that might work.

      • by schnell (163007) <me&schnell,net> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:37PM (#47172703) Homepage

        Now, if they had to give back both spectrum and exclusive rights to some of their infrastructure so that competitors can come in, that would be a fix that might work.

        This is the thing I think people don't understand about the US cellular industry - you can't try to "create" a new competitor because it will fail. The reason is that cellular business is all about scale - precisely the thing that is driving the T-Mo/Sprint acquistion. Fundamentally, you need to have the same 30-40K+ cell towers to cover most of the population centers in the US whether you have one million users, 10 million, or 100 million. When you are distributing that same infrastructure costs across fewer users, your economics are far worse than the big guys and it's very very difficult to compete. Additionally, size brings additional benefits such as more clout when negotiating device costs from Apple or Samsung, better deals with network infrastructure providers, etc. Scale is everything.

        So the problem with bringing in a new competitor is that it will take them many years to even get to a point equivalent to today's T-Mobile, which is struggling to make ends meet with a national network supporting 25 million users. Even if you subsidized out of taxpayer pockets the spectrum and some of the infrastructure, you'd just be propping up a company for the sake of competition that would have to merge/get bought by someone else eventually or remain uncompetitive on pricing and probably go out of business.

        It's unfortunate for a variety of reasons... but when you have businesses with a high financial barrier to entry and a model that grows efficiency with scale, economically speaking you will always see a trend towards consolidation to the minimum number of viable players.

        • by Kelbear (870538)

          I'll also add that AT&T's failed attempt to acquire T-mobile, resulted in AT&T having to hand over $3 billion in cash to T-mobile for failure to complete the merger, allowing for the very significant LTE rollout to major metropolitan areas that has allowed T-mobile to obtain the dramatic increase in customers and brand improvement they've seen in the past few years.

          If Sprint acquisition of T-mobile fails, they probably won't be handing over $3bil since Sprint is a much smaller player in the market t

        • by mcrbids (148650)

          Scale is everything.

          Mostly agreed - but it *is* possible to overcome that. Take a good look at MetroPCS which started as a "budget" regional carrier in the Sacramento/Bay Area. Recently merged with T-Mobile in a multi-billion dollar deal.

          The only thing really necessary to succeed is to have revenue higher than expenses. The difference between the two determines your growth rate and/or your ability to finance growth.

  • Two different tech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashkitty (21637) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:19AM (#47171551) Homepage
    Aren't the two using two different cell technologies? How are they to be combined? Do tmobile users need to get new phones?
    • by businessnerd (1009815) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:25AM (#47172091)
      This has become much less of a challenge than it would have been only just a few years ago. With more of the handset makers moving to the strategy of one device across all carriers and the carrier exclusive model almost dead (thankfully), most customers who have bought a mid to high end smartphone in the past two years likely already have both CDMA and GSM radios. I know at least if you have CDMA, you most likely also have GSM, not sure if the other way around holds true. In the short term, they will obviously have to maintain two networks, but over the long term, they need to pick one and begin to transition everyone over. If I were them, I would pick GSM simply because it is much closer to be a "standard" than CDMA and has a very strong global presence. This makes them more appealing to those moving from overseas and further strengthens the appeal of GSM in the US (If I choose Sprint but end up unhappy, I can take my phone to AT&T, but if I choose Verizon, my phone is stuck with Verizon). For transitioning, there is the very slow way: every new handset sold defaults to GSM until there are no more CDMAs (or few enough to pull the plug). They will also likely heavily promote cheap/free upgrades for anyone still on CDMA to speed things up. Or there is the quick way. Everyone has until X date to switch to GSM, and by the way, we have a lot of cheap/free phones to choose from, plus those new flagships that you know you gotta have right now. Slow is expensive, but will piss off less customers, the other will be cheaper, but could piss off more customers. AT&T and Verizon could also captitalize on those disgruntled customers and make it very easy and cost effective to switch (especially Verizon if Sprint chooses GSM and their CDMA customers want to bail). So in conclusion, it is a challenge, but not one without a solution, and nowadays, is a lot easier to solve.
      • Why spend all the effort to migrate to GSM off CDMA when they can just migrate both networks to LTE and VoLTE?

      • by emil (695)

        The combined T-Sprint will have to maintain both CDMA and GSM networks for some time. I hope that the tower hardware costs have dropped and dual CDMA/GSM hardware is available. I bet there will also be significant frequency waste.

        Both carriers are dragging along a wagonload of MVNOs, [wikipedia.org] so customers of several other companies will see migration impacts.

        Verizon is dumping CDMA [extremetech.com] for their own customers, but keeping it for the MVNOs. This will become more problematic, as Android is dropping support for CDMA, [androidcommunity.com] so e

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "'A report from Forbes says that Sprint buying T-mobile for $32 billion is almost done."

    Who talks like that? It's grammatically incorrect.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nonono. It's fine. Isn't it obvious that the report from Frobes is almost done?

    • by arth1 (260657)

      "'A report from Forbes says that Sprint buying T-mobile for $32 billion is almost done."

      Who talks like that? It's grammatically incorrect.

      I'd think most people talk like that. Few would use the grammatically correct "A report from Forbes says that Sprint's buying T-Mobile for $32 billion is almost done."

      • I would suggest "A report from Forbes says that Sprint buying T-Mobile for $32 billion is almost a done deal.", because this is what they fucking mean (not that it's true). Sprint buying T-Mobile is no where near done in terms of regulatory approval let alone execution. It is, however, a "done deal" since there fat cats have agreed and it's just a matter of time before the government allows some form of the deal through.

  • The proposed AT&T+T-Mobile merger made sense, because they both use GSM over similar wavelengths. But how would Sprint and T-Mobile combine their network services? Their voice data at least is on completely different infrastructure.
    • The proposed AT&T+T-Mobile merger made sense, because they both use GSM over similar wavelengths. But how would Sprint and T-Mobile combine their network services? Their voice data at least is on completely different infrastructure.

      Hopefully better than Nextel + Sprint did!! As I recall the iDEN to CDMA transition was a clusterf***.

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      The proposed AT&T+T-Mobile merger made sense, because they both use GSM over similar wavelengths. But how would Sprint and T-Mobile combine their network services? Their voice data at least is on completely different infrastructure.

      Device convergence, perhaps? The Nexus 5 I just bought from Craiglist (I guess from someone who bought an Android device by mistake) has both GSM/HSDPA+ and LTE radios in it.

      Just out of curiosity, how did Sprint manage to absorb the NextTel "push to talk" technology that was popular back in the pre-Blackberry days?

      I'm a bit worried about this Sprint acquisition, but as a Voicestream customer back in the 90s that weathered the T-Mobile takeover, I guess things could turn out OK. I suppose this is why T-Mo

      • by meustrus (1588597)
        FYI even a Verizon customer service representative told me that on the Pacific coast, AT&T coverage is better.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:29AM (#47171621)

    If increased competition is the goal, then give the smaller companies preference in spectrum auctions.

    Multi-billion dollar spectrum auctions are a scam anyway, just a hidden tax that we all pay through higher cellular bills.

  • "The news report also said that T-mobile will give up 67% share in exchange of 15% share of the merged company"
    Can someone explain that to me? They're giving up a 67% share in a company that's about to not exist in order to have a 15% share in a company that is about to be themselves that they'd effectively own 100% of, because it is them.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by DaphneDiane (72889) <tg6xin001@sneakemail.com> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:56AM (#47171863)

      The T-mobile that sprint wants to buy is "T-Mobile US", the T-Mobile that is trading stakes is Deutsche Telekom and their T-Mobile International AG holding company.

    • by BronsCon (927697)
      T-Mobile is an international company; only the US subsidiary is merging.
  • If the FCC doesn't have power to regulate the internet, then it shouldn't have power to prohibit people from transmitting on any crazy frequency they want.
  • Actually, new Sprint phones use both CDMA and TDMA at the same time... oops, that's called GSM!

    • In the U.S. cell phone market, when people who aren't RF engineers say "CDMA", they usually mean the CDMA2000 stack [wikipedia.org].
  • by neminem (561346) <neminem.gmail@com> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:46AM (#47171775) Homepage

    Anyone have any idea what this will do for Sprint-based MVNOs? I am quite fond of the one I use (Ting), and am curious whether this will change anything, either good or bad. (Bad would be their service getting crappier or prices being forced upwards; good would be, for instance, Sprint phones being sold that allow swapping out sim cards because they support GSM. That'd be cool.)

  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:59AM (#47171901) Journal

    The Nextel merger worked out pretty poorly for Sprint. Remember why? Because their two networks were incompatible, yet Sprint was required to keep it operating. It didn't get 3G upgrades, yet they had to keep operating until quite recently. There was a massive customer exodus, and Sprint was left holding the bag.

    T-Mobile, similarly uses a different and incompatible 3G cellular standard than Sprint, and on entirely different frequencies. Yet Sprint is out to do this all again.

    Seems like they've been planning this for some time, and are absolutely dependent on the merger going through, because Sprint has been a complete laggard with LTE deployments, despite their massive modernization effort, and doesn't seem to be trying AT ALL.

    Frankly, the Nextel merger could have given Sprint the best network and LTE coverage around, as a happy-accident... Nextel, with their 800MHz spectrum had great coverage, on-par with Verizon's, particularly in mountains, valley, indoors, etc. AT&T and Verizon spent their 800MHz spectrum on 3G networks and have none left. They're using 1900MHz spectrum for their LTE networks, with a resultant reduction in coverage depth.

    Sprint wasn't allowed to touch Nextel's spectrum, in the 3G days, so they only freed up their big block of 800MHz when LTE was first being deployed. With a little foresight, they could have put 800MHz LTE radios on their towers, and immediately boasted the best LTE coverage. With great LTE coverage, they could save money by neglecting their 3G network, and pretty quickly stop selling phones that are able to fall-back to anything other than 800MHz LTE. After all, LTE can do simultaneous voice and data, even if AT&T and Verizon have been slow to use it, perhaps for the above reasons.

    But Sprint was half-hearted about their great opportunity... first saying they'd use some of that 800MHz band to improve 3G coverage, then later retracting that incredibly stupid idea. And while they've promoted their "Network Vision" upgrades for a couple years, they've still only very slowly expanded their LTE coverage to more than the very biggest urban areas, even skipping some major ones.

    And they didn't ever leverage the WiMax network they spent so much money deploying. Sure, it's not LTE, but by just releasing a dual WiMax/LTE phone, Sprint could have boasted the biggest "4G" network from day #1, and they could have begun LTE deployments everywhere they didn't have WiMax, giving wider coverage, quicker. Instead, there's no WiMax/LTE phones to be found, and their LTE deployment simply overlapped their early WiMax deployment, resulting in no net-gain of extra coverage area.

    I'm cautiously hopeful that this merger will be what they need, to finally compete. But each time before that they've gotten a big opportunity, they've squandered it. From the outside, Sprint seems to be deeply dysfunctional and lacking in any foresight or innovative ideas, copying the big two in the slowest and least efficient way, possible. The opportunity they have to merge the Sprint and T-Mobile LTE networks with dual-band phones, and quickly deprecate their 3G networks, seems just as likely to be squandered and bungled.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rabtech (223758)

      This is wildly inaccurate.

      Full disclosure: I'm a Sprint shareholder (at $2.70, back when people were predicting bankruptcy). I've been following them for some time.

      Seems like they've been planning this for some time, and are absolutely dependent on the merger going through, because Sprint has been a complete laggard with LTE deployments, despite their massive modernization effort, and doesn't seem to be trying AT ALL.

      Actually Sprint has engaged in a nationwide replacement of all their radios and base stations, including installing fiber to almost all of their towers and using gigabit microwave to connect the towers that can't get fiber to ones that can.

      Sprint's major problem with 3G was the outdated backhaul. They were still using T1 lines everywhere, as they

      • This is a lot of great info, but what I want to know is will Sprint move to GSM or T-Mobile to CDMA?

        I have a Verizon CDMA phone, and *HATE* it. Call management (3-way or more, call waiting, etc) is a nightmare on CDMA. Plus, CDMA is not common outside North America.

        I really hope to see Sprint drop CDMA, but will they, or will they remove features from their T-Mobile imports?

      • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @03:04PM (#47174017) Journal

        This is wildly inaccurate.

        Funny, because I can't see where you actually disagree with much of what I've said. You just have the tone of a stockholder, and want to spin it to the positive, and paint all their problems and failures as minor issues that'll be fixed ANY DAY NOW...

        Actually they completely rebuilt their network

        I specifically mentioned the: "Network Vision" upgrades by name. What about it?

        Pretty strange to "completely" rebuild everything, and yet come back without LTE everywhere. And even their 2G/3G coverage hasn't been improved the slightest bit in any areas where I frequently have problems.

        Compare LTE coverage in 2012 to today and you can see a massive difference. You can't do that overnight.

        It's not"massive" at all. Two years, and only a minor expansion of LTE. All other providers, including T-Mobile, have FAR, FAR better LTE coverage, and are also expanding it FASTER.

        Sprint's major problem with 3G was the outdated backhaul.

        No, that was a minor problem. The MAJOR problem was depth of coverage. Theirs sucks. Their Nextel/iDEN coverage was VASTLY better than their CDMA.

        Actually WiMax was a use-it-or-lose-it deal. They had to deploy something to the 2.5Ghz bands or they would lose access, but LTE wasn't ready

        That doesn't change the fact that they missed a huge opportunity to use their existing WiMax to get a lot of "4G" coverage quickly, and wasted lots of money duplicating effort, building out LTE, first, in the same areas that had WiMax.

    • Entirely depends where they get their marching orders from.

      Kansas? Or Tokyo?

      What IS Sprint, now, exactly? They're just a brand name. They were bought out. "Sprint" is the color of the shell that the Softbank hermit crab moved into.

    • by Solandri (704621)

      Sprint wasn't allowed to touch Nextel's spectrum, in the 3G days, so they only freed up their big block of 800MHz when LTE was first being deployed. With a little foresight, they could have put 800MHz LTE radios on their towers, and immediately boasted the best LTE coverage.

      That's what they're doing. Sprint's LTE bands are 26 (850 MHz - the old Nextel band), 25 (1900 MHz), and 41 (2500 MHz). You're proposing they should've put LTE radio gear on all their towers, then switched it on simultaneously when th

    • by luther349 (645380)
      expect t-mobile lte sucks in most areas your lucky to get 2g.
  • by swb (14022) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:26AM (#47172099)

    I think it's generally assumed that a poorly regulated monopoly is bad -- rent seeking, no innovation, etc. A duopoly isn't much better, even when it's not explicit you end up with defacto collusion on pricing and market segmentation.

    Is a triopoly any better? Is there any economics that says how many vendors in a market are necessary to improve efficiency and consumer choice?

    • by Njovich (553857)

      Actually it can get worse, especially if they have a relatively even split. There are different reasons for it, but the most obvious way that works is that it 'looks' more like a free market situation, tricking people into believing they are paying a fair price, and making it hard for monopoly watchdogs to do something to a party that has a minority share.

  • 2 different systems on two different spectrums using 2 different technologies. Nextel II electric boogaloo. Just when you thought Sprint couldn't get any worse. Sprint is now the biggest reseller of AT&T minutes. Awesome. They will exit the branded retail market soon.

  • by Squidlips (1206004) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:38AM (#47172201)
    That is the motivation, nothing more.
  • noooooo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whistlingtony (691548) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:48PM (#47172819)

    I'm a T-Mobile customer, specifically because I have a GSM phone (Sprint ditched/is ditching GSM last I heard) and because T-Mobile doesn't have any stupid contracts. I pay, they give me service, we're both happy. I LIKE T-Mobile. Sure, I don't always have great coverage. it's a minor distraction at worst. It works fine.

    I have my own phone (I buy used Nexus S phones, and reflash them with the latest stock Android. No stupid carrier BS on my phone!). I LIKE paying $150 for a phone, and still getting the latest wiz bangs. I LIKE not having a contract. Yes, I even like feeling a little superior to the Morons that buy new phones every 2 years and shell out $ for something that's not really essentially any better than what I have.

    Damn. I hope Sprint doesn't buy T-Mobile. If they do, I hope they don't F it up...

    • Sprint has never been GSM. They've always been CDMA - which makes this merger puzzling, because they have two incompatible networks.
    • by mu51c10rd (187182)

      Sprint has stopped doing contracts as well. They do have their Framily plan, but you can go with no contract and buy a phone outright, or subsidize the cost across 24 months. Same as TMobile. Sprint has always been CDMA, not GSM. However, they do offer "international phones" with SIM cards and gsm radios. My Sprint phone is a Motorola that can use either.
      I, too, hope Sprint doesn't repeat the Nextel disaster...

    • by luther349 (645380)
      same hear i don't buy some insanely priced phone.when quad core phones drop to a decent price i may update until then ill keep using my normal phone.
    • My wife and I just left sprint literally 2 weeks ago for T-Mobile for the same reasons. We can afford to buy the phones outright and only pay for monthly service. We get two lines for the price of her old sprint plan on T-mobile.

      Not sure how I feel about this...

  • I can see why this deal is good for Sprint (they grow in size at a cost way cheaper and easier than self-growth) and T-Mobile (they get a lot of money) but this is most definitely NOT good for cell phone customers. Reducing the number of competitors from 4 to 3 will just increase the market leverage of the surviving 3 providers which will result in their product offerings and service plans being less competitive for cell customers. Do they think we are idiots? Reduced competition is great for the bottom
  • As a T-Mobile customer, I welcome our new overloards. Ever try using T-Mobile outside a metro area (Kansas, rural Texas, etc.)? Even in some some metro areas (Omaha, Austin suburbs) coverage is horrible. Anything that gives T-Mobile more towers is fine with me (as long as it's not AT&T).

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