Tuesday, March 22, 2011

T-Mobile, AT&T and Me

Sunday’s announcement that AT&T was going to buy smaller rival T-Mobile did come as a surprise to many in the mobile industry.

At a reception for the CTIA Wireless show being held in Orlando (ironically hosted by Sprint), talk of the merger was a central topic for the night.

But rather than thinking about it in macro terms, I wanted to think about what it would mean to me, both a T-Mobile subscriber and being involved in providing Smart Wi-Fi (aka Wi-Fi Calling) to T-Mobile.

One of the reasons I’m passionate about Wi-Fi Calling is that it’s a critical tool for me.  I get one/two bars of edge service in my house and virtually no 3G.  Yet every time I pick up my phone at home, my signal is strong because of Wi-Fi.

So I was pleased when I saw Sasha Sagan’s post yesterday titled “The Five Best T-Mobile Features ATT Must Keep”, I was excited to see others excited about Wi-Fi Calling:

2. Wi-Fi Calling. AT&T and Verizon say their networks are so good that you should never need a backup. T-Mobile is humble enough to admit that, yeah, sometimes a Wi-Fi signal is better than a cellphone signal. T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling solution is the best in the business. It's a lifeline in weak-signal areas, and it saves you big bucks abroad.

The others are good ideas too (‘Stock’ Android devices, true HSPA+, “Even More Plus”, and Great Customer Service), and are important to me as a consumer.  But I'm amazed by the number of tweets that are directed at having AT&T perpetuate Wi-Fi Calling.

@LunaticSX: It’d be awesome if T-Mobile USA’s UMA WiFi calling (http://bit.ly/f5i9wm ) became available to all AT&T customers, as well.
@gwapz: I just hope AT&T adopts T-Mobile UMA features.
@mikethewhite: @TMobile Please don't let At&t ruin #wificalling it's your best feature by far. (and non contract even more plus plans)

In the short term, Wi-Fi Calling should continue unabated.  It’s a significant sales and customer care advantage for T-Mobile.  Longer term, I’ve always believed that AT&T was an ideal operator to benefit from tighter Wi-Fi integration.


Mark3859 said...

I will miss u tmobile!

Anonymous said...

Wifi calling was the reason why I purchased the myTouch 4G in the first place. Unfortunately once/if 12-18 months down the road At&t does in fact settle in I'll be moving to another carrier. I'm sorry to see t-mobile sell out because their customer service is the best in the business. As for wifi calling goes At&t will probably do what they do best which is ignore this awesome feature and continue to give the consumer less for more money.