updated 12:23 pm EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
AT&T increased prices by 30 percent after T-Mobile deal died
The failed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile will mean higher prices for consumers, AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Randal Stephenson said in an interview. According to the Wall Street Journal, Stephenson said at the Milken Institute's annual global conference that the US wireless cellphone market can't support the number of providers as there simply isn't enough wireless spectrum for all of them. He said current stats suggest wireless data usage will grow by 75 percent every year for a minimum of the next five.
Since the deal's demise, Stephenson said data prices at AT&T increased by 30 percent. And at least some attribution was given to the dead deal for the carrier imposing data limits to consumers. That would have happened sooner or later, he noted, and expressed regret that such limits weren't introduced earlier.
"We're running out of the airwaves that this traffic rides on," he said. If wireless capacity doesn't keep pace, providers will have to leave the market or seek similar deals to the one AT&T proposed.
A higher number of competitors makes for a less efficient allocation of spectrum, Stephenson believes. He used the Asian, European, and Latin American markets as an example, where fewer companies use bandwidth more efficiently.