I'm a T-Mobile subscriber and will be leaving them after almost a decade of relationship. Along the way, the iPhone came and it was pretty awesome that we could use our iPhones on the network and bypass AT&T altogether even if it meant that we would not be enjoying 3G speed.
But imagine how things might have turned out had Apple also made a deal with T-Mobile as well. I think a lot of things would be very different.
- Complaints against AT&T's network would not have been so dramatic as it was. The burden may have been shared by T-Mobile. However, it would have meant more people signing up for the iPhone on T-Mobile instead of waiting.
- T-Mobile likely would have experienced subscriber growth.
- It may well be Sprint that is the smallest of the four major US carriers.
- Verizon would have still be forced into Google's arms but experience greater pain in the marketplace as T-Mobile provides a better avenue for most to leave for the iPhone.
- T-Mobile might have grown fat and lazy like AT&T but it also knew that it needed a true 4G network.
- T-Mobile might be in third place but a strong third place. Right now, it's a weak 4th.
Still, there is time. More people than not want out of AT&T and I reckon once Apple releases the iPhone 5, we could still see T-Mobile flourish. Should the AT&T and T-Mobile merger not go through, T-Mobile could be in a prime position to take third if it plays the game correctly.
It will have gained billions and additional spectrum as a result of the breakup fee from AT&T. It could use that to strength its HPSA+ network which can match up nicely against LTE networks from Verizon and AT&T that are still in their early stages of deployment.
Meanwhile, there are other companies that T-Mobile can deal with for LTE networks.
Furthermore, should the deal fall apart, T-Mobile could still be a takeover target for someone else. Perhaps a cable company.
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