T-Mobile pledged that all of its existing phones will be safe should AT&T acquire the No. 4 wireless carrier next year. But AT&T noted that T-Mobile's 3G phones will need to be replaced.
Among the many
ins-and-outs of AT&T's proposed plan
to buy T-Mobile USA is the issue of
what will happen to the carrier's smartphone lineup.
has 33.7 million subscriber's on its GSM-based HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) network
and a solid swath of 4G technology AT&T covets to build out its own LTE
(Long-Term Evolution) plans-dismissed any worry.
States' No. 4 carrier said in a FAQ Web page
that consumers' T-Mobile devices
"will operate the same in the future as it does today." That's in the
AT&T told Associated Press
that customers using T-Mobile 3G phones would have to replace
existing 3G devices because T-Mobile's existing 3G cell towers would be repurposed
phones would need to be replaced with phones that use AT&T's 3G
frequencies, or even upgrade to devices that run on AT&T's 4G LTE network. GigaOm
noted that AT&T's time frame for this
transition is within two years of closing the deal.
RIM Blackberry smartphones, Nokia handsets and plenty of feature phones made by
Samsung, LG and others.
arguably become as much its flagship platform as Apple's iPhone has become for
AT&T. It was T-Mobile that launched the first two Android
smartphones, the G1 in 2008 and the myTouch 3G in 2009.
currently offers roughly a dozen Android handsets in the U.S., including its
HTC myTouch, Samsung Galaxy S, and Motorola Cliq portfolios
Research analyst Charles Golvin told eWEEK AT&T would continue to push its
own Android devices.
AT&T has a lot of Android phones-look at how much marketing muscle they're
putting behind the Moto Atrix during the NCAA tournament-and will continue to
invest in the platform, I think."
doubt AT&T has ratcheted up its commitment to Android in the wake of
Verizon Wireless launching the iPhone 4 in January. The Atrix 4G easily stands up
to any Droid device from Verizon and
the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint.
prospect of a buy-out in one year's time will raise concerns among existing
customers and cause doubt among potential new subscribers. T-Mobile said in its
FAQ that customers should still sign up for T-Mobile service:
USA offers the latest wireless devices that are affordable on America's Largest
4G Network and the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile USA will mean even
stronger service for our customers. Now is a great time to be a T-Mobile
But there's no
question consumers will be loath to purchase a phone from a company placing its
future in the hands of a rival with ambitious, potentially conflicting designs.