AT&T T-Mobile merger faces few technical hurdles

Jessica Scarpati
01 Apr 2011
For now, AT&T has mostly detailed its plans for merging the two carriers' RANs. The immediate first steps would be choosing which of T-Mobile's cell sites it will retain, dual-banding those networks and opening roaming on both so that subscribers can use both, Stankey said. He did not specify how AT&T will select the sites or whether the process will be done via software upgrades or truck rolls.
As part of that process, AT&T would also reconfigure its Wi-Fi network to allow access to former T-Mobile subscribers, Stankey said.
In the merger's second phase, AT&T will consolidate and reappropriate the two carriers' spectrum, which would add T-Mobile's space in the 1900 MHz and AWS 1700/2100 MHz bands, pending FCC approval.
"We'll consolidate T-Mobile's UMTS capacity to the 1900 MHz band by taking advantage of traffic efficiencies gained by putting the two networks together," Stankey told investors. "This will free up T-Mobile's AWS spectrum for LTE implementation. Our third step will be to harmonize the two networks and spectrum deployments to bring LTE to more Americans in more places."
Beyond AT&T's objectives with the RAN, Stankey offered few other technical details about the planned merger. However, he said AT&T would "eliminate geographically-redundant operations and administration, rationalize support infrastructure, improve our lifecycle costs and scale key areas in our supply chain ... improve working capital performance through inventory consolidation, reduce operating costs for billing and remittance operations, leverage extensive network automation and ... lower roaming and third-party transport payments."
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