Today, the Federal Communications Comission, also known as the FCC approved the merger between T-Mobile USA and Metro PCS. This merger was already approved by the DoJ and the respective boards of both companies, so the FCC approval was the last regulatory step necessary for the merger to occur.
This merger comes a little more than one year after the failed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T by which many consumers would find themselves with higher prices and less competition. Not to mention the fact that AT&T would be a GSM monopoly in the United States. Taking all of the factors into account, the purhcase of T-Mobile by AT&T was not approved and the deal fell apart. This failed deal gave T-Mobile a second chance with an infusion of cash and spectrum, which were part of the terms of the deal, were it to fail.
Now that T-Mobile and MetroPCS are merging, many MetroPCS and T-Mobile customers should see improved coverage, as well as improved LTE coverage. The problem, however, with these two companies is that MetroPCS is a CDMA network while T-Mobile is a GSM network, so there won’t be a sudden integration of the two networks’ coverage. While it will improve the two companies’ customer base and such, there will still be a divide betwen what devices each company offers and what devices will be offered in certain regions.
The improved coverage will likely only be applicable on LTE where CDMA and GSM are less relevant and actual bands of LTE are more important. Since MetroPCS was one of the first carriers to deploy LTE, they certainly have experience that T-Mobile can use in deploying their own LTE network while simultaneously already having a bast to build from. MetroPCS was also the first carrier to deploy VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and will likely use that expertise in helping T-Mobile build out their network and move forward with advanced LTE technologies.
By joining these two companies together, there is actually a real chance they could compete with Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. While that remains to be seen, their new size could actually put them in a position to compete. What T-Mobile really needs to do, however, is bill themselves as the carrier of choice and flexibility, which no carrier offers. We likely won’t see the results of this merger for quite some time since they use separate 3G networks and T-Mobile’s 4G network hasn’t even rolled out yet. The two companies, once fully merged, will be known as T-Mobile USA, meaning that the MetroPCS brand will die with this merger.
We’re hopeful that this merger will be a good one and will promote competition, time will tell.