It seems that AT&T has themselves caught in a bit of a lie.
Thursday’s filings to the FCC regarding the T-Mobile takeover were mistakenly not redacted by AT&T’s lawyers, making public a good amount of information that AT&T probably would have liked to keep hidden. While they have now been taken down, the damage is already done. In these, AT&T revealed that it would only cost an additional $3.8 billion to build out their network from the 80% planned to the 97% they hope to have.
“AT&T senior management concluded that, unless AT&T could find a way to expand its LTE footprint on a significantly more cost-effective basis, an LTE deployment to 80 percent of the U.S. population was the most that could be justified,” AT&T counsel Richard Rosen stated in the letter.
The company said its merger with T-Mobile would spread the cost of the LTE expansion over a larger revenue base, allowing it to “better absorb the increased capital investment and lower returns associated with deploying LTE to over 97 percent of the U.S. population.”
Now, something’s not right. Why is spending $3.8 billion to cover an additional 55 million people too high of a price to pay, but spending $39 billion plus the $3.8 billion needed to build out sound economics? It doesn’t add up.
Many would insinuate that AT&T is trying to keep a resurgent Sprint from partnering with T-mobile and creating a viable third-place competitor. Why else would they spend nearly 10 times as much to pick up a competitor and expand this “spectrum” that they so desire, when they can build it out themselves for less than one-tenth of the cost?
Of course, AT&T denies the notion. “There is no real news here,” said spokeswoman Margaret Boles to Wireless Week. “Without this merger, AT&T could not make this expanded commitment.”
So what do you our readers think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.