ADOTAS – And then there were three — major mobile shakeup over the weekend as AT&T agreed to fork over a $39 billion dowry to Deutsche Telecom for little T-Mobile, but the two will only get to the altar if the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission grant them permission.
Of course they will, AT&T execs said during an investor call this morning– take a look at all these charts that show why. However, Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land counters that this merger would make Google’s acquisition of flight info software maker ITA — which currently has the DOJ in a tizzy — look “trivial.”
Last-place U.S. wireless carrier Sprint — who had reportedly been chatting about merging with T-Mobile — isn’t happy about this. What bad news, when the company just announced it had gained subscribers for a change!
“If approved, the merger would result in a wireless industry dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically-integrated companies that control almost 80% of the US wireless post-paid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete,” Sprint said in a statement. “The DOJ and the FCC must decide if this transaction is in the best interest of consumers and the US economy overall, and determine if innovation and robust competition would be impacted adversely by this dramatic change in the structure of the industry.”
Sprint had its own news, announcing its new BFF was Google — Sprint will not only offer the 4G-enabled, NFC-loaded Google Nexus S, but also integrate the Google Voice message service across its network. Man, why don’t the two just jump in the sack already? Well, they could, but Google with its own wireless carrier? Seems like the DOJ and FCC would squash that idea before it could even be pondered.
Instead Dan Frommer at Business Insider suggests Verizon — which would definitely raise regulatory eyebrows — or Comcast could make a deal with the long-struggling Sprint.
Either move would buoy John Biggs’ claim on MobileCrunch that we’ve entered the post-carrier utopia, or we’re getting close: carriers are “still making plenty of money for wildly subpar service they’re still charging us out the jacksy, but they’ve finally met their match and maybe that’s the first step in improving this nation’s telecoms infrastructure.” He notes that Sprint’s Google partnership is pretty a much surrender of its network.
If you consider the carriers a languishing roadblock to mobile progress, the shakeup means the U.S. consumer embrace of smartphones and the mobile web will grow at an even faster rate. Reportedly, the iPhone won’t be coming immediately to T-Mobile, but when it does it will certainly increase the presence of Apple’s device.
As for the advertising industry, the possibilities in this space still appear limitless — there’s plenty of room mobile ad networks, ad exchanges and video tech companies. However, security and privacy researcher Christoper Soghoian does note a loss on the privacy front — T-Mobile’s data retention policy was the only one of the four major U.S. carriers that promised that no customer IP logs were retained.