AT&T and Vodafone Getting Hitched?
Vodafone, one of the largest mobile phone carriers, has been trying to get into the US market for several years now. The first obvious attempt at this was when they were in a bidding war with Cingular for AT&T Wireless (back when it wasn’t part of AT&T). I actually think that would have made the US market a lot more interesting to have three major GSM carriers competing for business, but that’s the past.
Since then, there has been persistent rumors that either Vodafone was going to buy out Verizon’s stake in Verizon Wireless or Verizon would buy out Vodafone’s share. The Vodafone/Verizon partnership just doesn’t make sense mainly because they use different mobile technologies. These “frankenphones” with both GSM and CDMA have to be done in order for a Verizon Wireless customer to use Vodafone’s networks in Europe. What a mess!
The latest wrinkle in the saga to get Vodafone in the US market is provided by Andy “Scoop” Abramson, who is fresh off his French wedding and, as usual, not missing a beat. His sources say that there are some merger talks going on between AT&T and Vodafone. AT&T would be the surviving entity, as the other way would likely be harder to get past regulatory agencies.
But what about the whole Vodafone owning part of Verizon Wireless thing? That could easily be sold off, either to Verizon itself–likely to be a hard pill for Verizon to swallow–or to someone else. Either way, it’s not a deal-breaker.
I can’t think of how this would benefit, or hurt, the average consumer. Perhaps having a behemoth like AT&T with worldwide tentacles might be bad for consumer choice. One thing’s for sure, EU roaming rates for US citizens won’t likely change for the better (or US roaming for EU residents). They certainly didn’t when T-Mobile bought VoiceStream all those years ago.
One thing a larger AT&T would do, though, is be a huge benefit to multinational businesses. One company as a one-stop for your connectivity needs worldwide. Certainly a bad thing for the competition.
Do you thing AT&T and Vodafone should get hitched? What benefits do you see in this marriage? What are the bad things that will come from it? Leave your thoughts in the comments.