The mobile world has been talking about a document posted by AT&T and the FCC that outlines their plans to roll out 4G/LTE to 97% of Americans. Many are thinking this document is a “smoking gun” in the AT&T swallowing up T-Mobile saga. With a little grasp of the English language, and the way lawyers like to talk you can clearly see that AT&T originally said they could build out their 4G/LTE network with only $3.8 billion dollars before they announced they wanted to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion dollars.
More after the break
Either way we’re talking about a lot of money. However $39 billion is a whole lot more than $3.8 billion. The biggest question that is on the minds of people against the T-Mobile merger (thedroidguy included) is why on earth do they need T-Mobile to roll out the 4G/LTE network. Prior to the T-Mobile merger announcement AT&T purchased the spectrum from Qualcomm that was used for their failed Flo-TV. AT&T could ether build out that spectrum or sell it off to make some of that $3.8 billion right?
The letter, that has since been taken down from the FCC website, clearly outlines plans for AT&T’s 4G/LTE strategy. Currently, AT&T plans to roll out 4G/LTE to Houston, Dallas, San Antonio. Chicago and Atlanta, in the next few weeks. This presumably is the 70 million pops that AT&T plans to cover by the end of 2011. They say that they will cover an additional 100 million people in 2012 bringing the total to 170 million, and then 250 million by the end of 2013. As Dave at Tmonews points out AT&T now says that it will take them until 2018 to cover 97% of American’s although their original plan for 4G/LTE rollout prior to announcing they want to acquire T-Mobile, was 2014.
Apparently AT&T management has known that their lofty goal of getting 97% of the country covered was just that, lofty. Irregardless the marketing people at AT&T wanted to send a different front facing message to AT&T’s American customers.
So just to recap what you’re reading here, if AT&T doesn’t buy T-Mobile and spends $3.8 billion instead of $39billion then they will be able to cover 97% of Americans in 4 years less time. What’s the deal? AT&T continues to downplay this memo, hopefully it’s enough for some of the Attorney Generals on the fence to start asking the important questions.