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AT&T CEO Says The Carrier Didn’t Execute Well On T-Mobile Merger

February 11, 2013 - Written By Chance Miller

AT&T and T-Mobile shocked us all when they announced their plans to merge back in March of 2011. Many people wondered how this would pan out and if it would receive regulatory approval. Should the two have merged, we would have just one major GSM carrier here in the United States, which would be considered a monopoly by many. Later in 2011, AT&T announced that it had withdrawn its bid to acquire T-Mobile after a “thorough review of its options.” This ended up hurting AT&T greatly, as it was forced to pay T-Mobile $3 billion due to the failed merger.

Om a recent interview, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson confessed that he did not plan for the deal to end that way. His pay, due to the money lost in the deal, was cut more than $2 million that year. “I wouldn’t say it was a bad decision, but it was a decision that didn’t go the way I wanted,” Stephenson said to Phil Weiser, dean of the University of Colorado Law School. “We didn’t execute well.” He called the deal one of the worst moments in his tenure at AT&T. He went on, however, to say that one of his best moments at the company was when it was chosen by Apple to be the first provider of the iPhone. “We didn’t have a great vision as to where this would go, we just knew that when you took data utilization and made it mobile, it would explode,” he said. AT&T wasn’t betting on the iPhone, the market, or even Apple, but rather Steve Jobs. “We were betting on Steve Jobs. And time has proven that to be a good bet. But it was not a partnership that came without pain,” he said.

AT&T’s plan to purchase T-Mobile certainly angered many customers, especially T-Mobile customers. They worried that their prices would increase and that data caps would soon become a reality. Some, however, were optimistic regarding the deal, hoping to be able to buy an iPhone and use it on Magenta. Many analysts speculate that the chance of the deal getting approved was very slim in the first place, especially considering AT&T/Cingular’s past history with holding a “monopoly.”

Where do you think we would be in the mobile world today had AT&T-Mobile become a reality? Better off or not? Let us know down in the comments!