Here are some words that I used earlier on WSJ.com and Howard Forums:
Wall Street Journal has had many articles on the proposed merger. I commented on several. Under the headline “Vote Now: Should Washington Approve the AT&T/T-Mobile Deal?” , I said:
o 6:52 pm March 24, 2011
o Jim Worthey wrote:
The cell industry raises unique issues. The original American Telephone and Telegraph had a monopoly of “land lines” for 75 years. Phones were said to be a “natural monopoly.” Now there are competing land lines, Competitive Local Exchange Carriers. It took years to work out that system. But for many people, cell phones give the best competition. In my household, we use a CLEC. For cellular, I have T-Mobile and in fact my son uses AT&T mobile. We are low-usage prepaid cell users, a group threatened by this takeover. After generations of the autocratic Ma Bell, and only a few years of reasonably-priced cell service, do we need a new oligopoly by former Bell System operators?
T-Mobile uses GSM technology for voice. From an engineering point of view, it may be not quite as clever as the CDMA tech used by Verizon and Sprint. But GSM normally comes with an extra dimension of freedom and competition. That is, your phone number is tied to a SIM, a Subscriber Identity Module. You can switch phones by moving the SIM. You can switch carriers by putting a different SIM in the phone. Some phones are locked, but they can be unlocked. T-Mobile is very reasonable about unlocking phones for customers. If I go to Europe or Thailand or elsewhere, I can take my phone and use a local SIM during my visit.