In my last dish, I emphasized how important it was for at&t to go beyond their typical playbook to get approval for their merger with T-Mobile. The company has done just that and continues to move the ball forward on messaging and the approval process.
Once again, I’m not going to go on the record (yet) on my opinion on the deal. Instead, I will offer a few thoughts for my friends at at&t and Sprint to chew on… Enjoy!
Silicon Valley - I love at&t’s proactive outreach to this community. In 2004, the mobile-social revolution was not on the radar and we did not have to court the valley. However, the innovations and services driving the wireless ecosystem is a real success story for the industry. At the moment, there is a ton of money being invested in everything mobile. This group has a huge stake in this deal, and having them on board or just neutralized is huge.
Spectrum – Sprint can play in this sandlot too. Yes, at&t is stating that they need more spectrum, and the merger allows them to acquire it quicker than a future auction. That might be true. However, Sprint should talk about the inconvenience this is going to cause consumers (especially T-Mo’s) as they are going to have to switch out handsets due to how the companies currently utilize their spectrum. T-Mobile has done very well in attracting consumers who have sought the low-priced alternative in the market… You connect the dots.
In addition to that point, Sprint should hammer the fact that without another large bidder in the auction process, the Treasury should not expect huge windfalls from the auction. Spectrum policy (whether good or bad), in most instances, has been driven purely by dollars. Republicans who are predisposed to support the merger, are hoping to raise billions from incentive auctions to cut the deficit. Some might realize that it’s hard to raise a ton of dough when there aren’t many players.
“Crickets” - To date, this merger has failed to capture the general public’s attention. Once again, I give at&t credit by being pro-active and reaching out to important groups (see one example above). Consumers are concerned with gas prices, the economy, and the job market. at&t’s ability to keep the noise on its home field (district of communications) is key to success. They can handle hearings, they can handle the name calling by “consumer groups” (that hasn’t changed since 2004). Sprint has to get them out of their comfort zone (maybe their efforts in the states will help).
Love them or hate them, at&t knows mergers. the onus is on them to make the case for this deal, and they are doing it.
additional note – I wrote this post earlier in the week leading up to today’s House Judiciary Commitee Hearing on the merger. at&t came out with some additional support (Microsoft, Sierra Club, and some rural Governors) over the last 24 hours.
another note – I worked at AT&T Wireless when we were acquired by Cingular Wireless in 2004. As always, these are my personal opinions.