Yeah, AT&T needs to give up a billion dollars worth of broadcast spectrum but they can always console themselves with, uh, nothing. Because nothing is what AT&T ultimately got out of the failed acquisition of T-Mobile. Big Purple/Ringo/T-Mobile, meanwhile, stands to gain $3 billion in cash plus this section of the spectrum. The two companies have put in a formal request to the FCC for transfer of the spectrum.
T-Mobile has said it needs additional spectrum to keep pace with its larger competitors. It is the only major national carrier with no plan to roll out the faster fourth-generation mobile broadband service known as LTE, and it lost 849,000 contract customers in last year’s first nine months.
T-Mobile really made out like a bandit on this whole thing but it’s a big if as to whether the new spectrum muscle and cash infusion will allow it to stay afloat for all that much longer. Parent company Deutsche Telekom has already said it plans to use the cash to pay off some debts. Given the state of T-Mobile and its persistent lack of iPhone, it’s hard to see all that many customers jumping aboard for new 2-year contracts.