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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 29, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Q&A: More on AT&T buying T-Mobile USA

Here are a few more answers to questions people had during Tuesday’s online chat about AT&T buying T-Mobile USA.

I asked AT&T to respond to a few specific questions. A spokeswoman answered most but not all. The company also prepared a list of answers to common questions from consumers that’s located here, at a special site it created to explain the deal.

Here you go:

When will AT&T LTE be available in the Seattle area?

AT&T: We haven’t announced the timing of specific markets, but nationally, it’s planned to be largely complete YE 2013.

What will happen to T-Mobile prepaid plans – will AT&T offer something similar? Also, will T-Mobile prepaid minutes continue to be usable after the merger, as long as they haven’t contractually expired yet?

AT&T: T-Mobile customers will be able to keep their existing price plan. It’s too soon to comment on what any new plans may look like but AT&T offers a pay-as-you-go plan called GoPhone.

How seamless will it be to move phones from T-Mobile to AT&T? Don’t AT&T and T-Mobile use different frequencies? Will new phones have to be built to take advantage of both networks?

AT&T: After the deal closes, T-Mobile customers’ current phones will work fine. Any details further out than when the deal closes is too soon to speculate on.

“I heard my T-Mobile 4G phone will no longer work on the merged network once AT&T takes over. Is this true?”

AT&T: No. Their current T-Mobile phone will continue to work fine once the transaction is complete.

Are all T-Mobile handsets supported by the AT&T network?

AT&T: Yes.

Will AT&T and T-Mobile allow data and voice roaming on each other’s networks, at least as a show of goodwill before the deal closes?

AT&T: AT&T and T-Mobile will continue to operate as fierce competitors until the deal is approved. (so the answer is apparently no …)

How will the merger affect users of unlocked phones who want to use the network without a contract?

AT&T: It’s too early to speculate on policies such as this.

What’s Bellevue doing about this? Several people asked if the city of Bellevue is going to get involved. It’s probably going to lose a number of jobs since T-Mobile USA is based in the city’s Factoria neighborhood. I’ve asked the mayor but haven’t heard back. Either way, residents can let their city officials know how they feel directly – their contact info is here.

What about Congress? It’s a federal issue, so residents may also want to engage with their representatives in Congress. Here is a nice application for getting their contact info.

How do I contact the FCC? Chairman Julius Genachowski is at Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov. Contact info for the agency and commissioners is here.

Comments | Topics: AT&T, T-Mobile, Telecom

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