AT&T CEO: T-Mobile Deal Will Improve iPhone Service

According to a new report from Bloomberg, earlier today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson met the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, to convince regulators that the acquisition of T-Mobile by his company would benefit consumers, including iPhone users, as the “tie-up would improve iPhone service,” and the merger would “improve AT&T’s network capacity by about 30 percent.” But are AT&T’s claims accurate? We’re not so convinced, as T-Mobile and AT&T use incompatible frequencies in the U.S.: T-Mobile’s phones use the 1,700 and 2,100 MHz frequency bands, while AT&T’s phones use the 850 and 1,900 MHz bands. As a result, phones built for AT&T’s network usually offer poor performance when used on T-Mobile’s network, and vice versa, a problem experienced by most iPhone users who unlocked their device to use it on T-Mobile’s network. So what does AT&T mean by “improved iPhone service”? While the company didn’t give additional details, it may be referring to its 4G LTE roll-out instead of its current 3G operations: most analysts expect T-Mobile’s current 3G network to be eventually discontinued, and repurposed for at&t’s 4G plans. In other words, the merger between at&t and T-Mobile will not benefit iPhone users until an LTE-compatible iPhone is released – potentially later this year. As reported by iOSnoops last week, the acquisition of T-Mobile USA is proving much more difficult than initially expected, as regulators such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are allegedly against the idea of seeing the fourth largest U.S. wireless provider disappear. AT&T’s competitors such as Sprint also voiced their concerns multiple times, as the T-Mobile/AT&T merger would create a wireless giant of over 130 million subscribers, more than three times as large as Sprint.