When AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) tried to acquire it, T-Mobile asserted that mobile competition was thriving in the U.S., planning ahead for spectrum needs was key, and spectrum consolidation concerns were overstated. Now that T-Mobile's trying to stop Verizon Wireless from acquiring Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from a cable MSO consortium, it's arguing nearly the polar opposite. (See T-Mobile's Fighting Spirit.)
T-Mobile could actually benefit, because it could snap up some spectrum that Verizon's proposing to divest should the cable deal go through. But it has made it clear it wants nothing to do with that -- another confusing stance, since it's in dire need of said spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE). It would no doubt change its mind again if it was in a position to acquire the AWS bands from the MSOs instead of Verizon. (See T-Mobile Loads Up LTE Spectrum Ammo and T-Mobile, Verizon Spar Over Spectrum .)
For their part, Verizon Wireless and its MSO partners were quick to point out all of T-Mobile's flip-flopping in a seven-page letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday. I expect a lot more of this smack-talking to continue on, just like it did in the AT&T/T-Mobile deal.
But, while there's talk coming out of the both sides of everyone's mouths (Verizon's need for cable's AWS licenses, but willingness to divest some of its own spectrum, for instance), T-Mobile's outrage over the deal so soon after its failed merger with AT&T is a little laughable. (See Verizon Will Sell Spectrum If It Seals AWS Deals and Verizon Fears 4G Spectrum Shortfall .)
I'm not saying either side is necessarily right or wrong, but that this all needs to be taken with a big grain of salt. For its part, T-Mobile is being firm -- and loud -- in its latest beliefs...but we'll see what side it's on the next time a spectrum deal makes it way in front of the FCC.
- Verizon's Spectrum Auction: Winners & Losers
- Battle Lines Form in VZ Wireless-MSO Deals
- Sparks Start to Fly in VZ Wireless-MSO Deal
- DoJ Sniffs Around VZ Wireless-Cable Deals
- Rivals Try to Freeze Verizon-MSO Spectrum Buy
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile