T-Mobile To Team Up With Cable Company?
During T-Mobile's first quarter conference held just recently, John Legere, chief executive officer of the major wireless carrier, talked about the topic of industry consolidation, and even hinted at a possible merger between his company and a cable company.
When examined closely, T-Mobile teaming up with a cable company could bring lots of advantages for customers. For one, it would provide a new alternative to wireless leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T, both of which offer wireless services as well as broadband services. A number of cable companies, like Comcast for instance, have already set up lots of Wi-Fi networks that could be utilized in expanding the capacity of wireless networks, or for enhancing the coverage of indoor locations. Obviously, this could only lead to better, faster wireless networks that can handle more data and cover more locations, all for a cost-effective price.
Industry consolidation, especially in the wireless industry, is at times frowned upon by US regulators. They are thinking that mergers among wireless providers would strangle competition and hinder innovation in the industry.
But for Legere, he is clearly looking at the broader picture in which industry consolidation can open up more possibilities, i.e. more services for consumers. He also explained that there is little appreciation of how a working relationship between the wireless industry and the cable industry can be fostered in order to provide alternate options other than what Verizon Wireless and AT&T are offering, which already includes broadband services and TV businesses that directly compete with what cable operators offer.
And it is not like cable companies have never been interested in the wireless market. In past years, there have been a number of attempts by cable companies to partner with wireless companies, but mixed results. In 2008 for example, three of the largest cable companies, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House, decided to join together in order to purchase wireless spectrum. The joint venture eventually folded, but it does not mean they can not try again.
T-Mobile, for one, believes that there could be a good opportunity for the wireless carrier to partner or even merge with a cable company in the near future. Compared to other major wireless carriers in the United States, T-Mobile has always been the bolder one. For instance, it was the first wireless carrier to try Wi-Fi calling. And just recently, T-Mobile was one of only two carriers that collaborated with Google's Project Fi wireless service (Sprint is the other one).
For now, everything is just in the discussion phase. It may take some time before everything falls into place. For T-Mobile though, it is more than willing to help out in making the first domino fall.