T-Mobile USA looking for a new bunkmate?

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by Mike
Posted November 20th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

tmo-storefrontComing last place can get old after awhile. Perhaps that’s what’s fueling T-Mobile’s motivations to actively search for a new U.S. partner if reports from Reuters are to be believed. Currently ranked 4th out of the “Big 4″ US cellular providers (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, & T-Mobile), T-Mobile has for some time now been trying to recoup lost ground and push itself ahead of it’s rivals. Part of pushing ahead is expanding the carriers rather weak coverage nationally speaking. Such adventures aren’t cheap mind you as the actual physical motions of adding towers and backhaul capacity are the most expensive upgrades carriers can make. If you’re thinking T-Mobile is looking to purchase another carrier and add to their coverage that quickly, you’ll be disappointed to know that’s not quite how it’s going down. They’re actually looking for another carrier to invest in their network with returns on investments the shining jewel of the partnership. So if T-Mobile really is trying to make new friends, where would they go?

A few possible options include AT&T (as they’re another GSM provider meaning minimal cross network issues), MetroPCS, and ClearWire. Chances of an AT&T partnership while easiest on paper are rather slim. The two largest GSM carriers collaborating has “anti-trust lawsuit” written all over it. Clearwire is…well…Clearwire. It’s pretty neutral. MetroPCS on the other hand while surprising because of their current adoption of CDMA technology isn’t that far from a T-Mo partnership. I mean, they use the 1700MHz band just like T-Mo uses for their 3G network. It is possible. But don’t forget, this isn’t exactly a “take over” partnership that T-Mobile seeks. They merely want someone else to finance a large sum of money now to rapidly build out their network.

Don’t expect anything to happen overnight though. Two unnamed Reuters sources who are familiar with the matter said that while they are anxious to expand the carriers coverage and form new partnerships, there isn’t a big rush and that they are “weighing all of their options”. Overnight success it is not. But further on down the road, T-Mobile could become quite the market dominator. Seem plausible?

Electronista > Reuters

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