AT&T and T-Mobile: What it Means for Marketers

Casey BartoAT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile has both marketers and consumers abuzz with predictions and opinions.
If approved, the merger will leave just three major wireless carriers (Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T) in the nation. With fewer options for consumers to choose from, The New York Times reports prices for a variety of wireless services could rise. The New York Times also reports that the proposed merger will likely attract close scrutiny from regulators.
In addition to a possible price increase, consumers may see an improvement in service and network quality, and analysts predict the availability of mobile coverage in the U.S. is likely to expand.

But what can marketers expect from the proposed merger?

The merger would give AT&T 130 million subscribers, making three out of four mobile subscribers in the country an AT&T or Verizon customer. Which means three out of four mobile subscribers will have access to the iPhone possibly making Apple the dominant OS and smartphone provider.

And, as with the Verizon-Alltel merger, it could mean one less wireless carrier whose guidelines need to be considered before launching a mobile campaign, bringing a standard set of guidelines one step closer.

To get more insight into the proposed deal, I chatted with Dave Lawson, one of Knotice’s resident mobile experts (and frequent Lunch Pail contributor).

“This should hopefully help to slightly consolidate some of the approval processes it takes to get SMS/MMS campaigns up and running,” Dave said of the merger.

If the deal is approved, Dave noted that we lose T-Mobile as a brand. This may not sound like much of a loss, he said, but their customers historically have loved them. Plus, they have been as innovative as you can get in their device deals (think Google G1 and Sidekick), product risks, and even on the marketing side of things. This could be a big benefit to AT&T if they can preserve the best of that essence.

What are your thoughts on the proposed merger? And of course, stay tuned to The Lunch Pail for updates.

One Comment

  1. Rebecca
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Once the dust has settled after the AT&T & T-Mo merger I think everyone with a cell phone is going to be paying higher prices, but at least getting great coverage.
    – Smaller wireless companies and those with concessions from AT&T and Verizon will be offering better service and prices in order to compete with the 2 giants and I think this is the companies that I’ll support.
    -You might not get the top of the range smart phones but I prefer to keep my cell phone costs as low as possible.
    – At the moment I’ve decided to switch to Net10’s prepaid plans (they have a concession with Verizon, AT&T & T-Mobile to use their networks)because I don’t want to sign up a new contract for the next 2 years with all this uncertainty about everything.
    – Let’s hope the regulators will put strict steps into place about allowing more competition into the market in other ways.


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