AT&T: T-Mobile 3G customers will need new phones

By on March 21, 2011, 7:35 PM
With AT&T's plans to acquire T-Mobile out in the open, the companies have been addressing customers' frequently asked questions. In short, T-Mobile customers shouldn't notice any service changes in the near future -- at least not until the merger is completed, which could take a year or longer.

Outside of concerns regarding prices, billing and other service details, many customers apparently want to know if they can now purchase an iPhone through T-Mobile. The answer, of course, is no. Again, the acquisition hasn't occurred yet and T-Mobile doesn't have rights to Apple's handsets.

While on the subject of devices, it's worth noting that T-Mobile subscribers with 3G smartphones will have to purchase new devices if the buyout is completed. AT&T reportedly plans to reallocate T-Mobile's 3G spectrum to 4G, so current 3G phones won't have wireless broadband access.

That sounds harsh, but it shouldn't pose much of an issue. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval and by the time AT&T's changes are put into effect, you'll probably be using a different handset anyway. "There's nothing for [customers] to worry about ... it will be done over time," AT&T explained.

User Comments: 16

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Guest said:

the same day it's approved, i'm switching to a company other than AT&T (period).

If it is approved, EVERYONE on that regulatory approval committee should be replaced. This only weakens competition and causes monopoly.

That stupid article that talked about the "many" company choices that people have other than AT&T (over 5 companies)... you dumb at least 5!!!

for readers of TechSpot, i really would like a list of companies (i'm in Washington state).

RaiDeR55 said:

There Is, 1.Verizon,2.Sprint,3.Boost mobile,4.Us Cellular,5.Metro Pcs,6.Virgin mobile,


howzz1854 said:

RaiDeR55 said:

There Is, 1.Verizon,2.Sprint,3.Boost mobile,4.Us Cellular,5.Metro Pcs,6.Virgin mobile,


and anything after #2 is about less than some 10% market share lol. sad

Raswan Raswan said:

^exactly. I will also be switching to Verizon the minute this deal goes through.

Guest said:

thank you so much for the list, i'm going to look those up.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

you've got to be kidding me. "Hi, we have just bought out the company you have service with. Please note, you're 3G connection will no longer work. Please but your hard earned money towards buying a new phone. We don't care if you just bought that one and have a 2 year contract. Not our problem. Have a nice day."

Ok, so it may not be quite that harsh (maybe?) but you get the point. Hopefully this will take some time to kick in. 4G is making its way into the market, so 3G phones are pretty much already starting to go out the window.

This is my favorite part on their Q & A form:

~Is T-Mobile USA getting the iPhone?

~We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.

Wait...what was that again? "We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices...". BURN! lol I'm not sure if this was intentional, or just bad phrasing...I prefer the first one :P

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Sounds like a big void of contract to me!

Guest said:

Wow, complain complain complain, this merger still needs to be approved by the FCC and other governmental agencies, if you want to b*tch about your contract, hell b*tch at at&t when the merger is complete, because you signed a contract with t-mobile, not at&t, and it stats in your contract, at&t may purchase t-mobile, legally then your contract with t-mobile is voided, also its going to be a good 2 or so years before everything is completely taken care of and the towers are switched over to 4g, also at&t and t-mobile are the same damn techbology, it doesn't take that much for at&t to send an update to the newest phones for the transfer to the at&t towers, then even when t-mobile's towers are switched over to 4g, your 3g phone will still work.

Everyone need to just calm the f*ck down and wait this out, there is still no, i repeat NO guarantee this will completely happen, its just a damn agreement, the government might step in again like before and force at&t to sell of parts of their company.

Guest said:

hmm, alternatives to at&t, lets cut this up a bit so that its a little easier to understand how stupid naming some of these companies are

"There Is, 1.Verizon,2.Sprint,3.Boost mobile,4.Us Cellular,5.Metro Pcs,6.Virgin mobile,

7.Tracfone.8.Cricket "

1. verizone, ok this is a competition and an alternate to at&t

2. sprint, same as verizone, its competition and an alternate to at&t

3. boost mobile, this is a poor choice to name off as a competition, first off it uses nextel towers, hmm who own nextel? sprint, also sprint owns boost as well, therefore, its still sprint, just like at&t go phones is still at&t.

4. US Cellular, ok they have decent coverage, but only because they roam off verizon, other then that, they are very small compaired to the 4 main carriers, they can't even be considered competion

5. Metro PCS, is just another small company like US Cellular, they roam just as much as US Cellular. They aren't real competition to the 4 main carriers

6. Virgin mobile, uses sprint's towers, and also owned by sprint, therefore, not that great of a competitor, however for prepaid side, they are the best priced prepaid.

7 tracephone, what a joke, they have the sh*ttest phones out there, as well as they use all the 4 main carrier's towers, they don't own any towers of their own, even know they claim they do.

8.Cricket, another prepaid service that uses towers owned by one of the 4 main carriers.

you see, at&t doesn't have much competition any more, use verizon and sprint are still competition, but if you really think of it, at&t and t-mobile were the biggest GSM networks, and sprint and verizon are CDMA, so the competition for sell phone services is still there, but as far as the GSM networks, competition between them, well that will be f*cked.

Omnislip said:

Nice story. Except for the little fact that Even AT&T say that it will take over 2 years, even after the merger, for the 3Gness to 4Gness. By then Every T-Mobile contract holder will have upgraded. So, you aren't just gonna have to buy a new one the day the merger is complete. Stop turning into Gizmodo, Techspot! You used to have balance!

Guest said:

So combined AT&T and T-Mobile will have 95% or more of the GSM market in U.S., if THAT is not a monopoly, I don't know what is. Given that I travel quite a bit internationally and need by GSM phone because it works properly in Europe, India, and rest of Asia, that means that I will have only one choice in the U.S. and that would be AT&T.

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't ma bell broken up because it was monopolistic and there was no real competition?

Guest said:

T Mobile w/ Vibrant.... Sprint w/ Evo looking very appealing.

US Celluare looks good... but not offered in our region.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

RaiDeR55 said:

There Is, 1.Verizon,2.Sprint,3.Boost mobile,4.Us Cellular,5.Metro Pcs,6.Virgin mobile,


Isn't Boost just Sprints pay as you go division?

bonniesmith bonniesmith said:

I'm leaving Tmobile after ATT comes on board

Guest said:

Honestly... do we even have an FCC anymore, how is this good for consumer's and not a oligopoly.

Why doesn't AT&T fess up and just admit, it has oversold it's backbone (bandwidth) for many years and have neglected their infrastructure. Why not spend $39 billion on that? Then they could COMPETE for our dollar.

As it stand, now they have what they want and the COE have no incentive to build a future network, and just stair @ their portfolio's.

This should be disallowed.

gobbybobby said:

Will this effect T-Mobile in the UK?

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