Last updated: January 3, 2012 - 11:35am
In 2011, AT&T and Verizon Communications cemented their wireless dominance by boosting their share of the industry's operating profit to 80%, according to Fitch Ratings. A ragtag band of rivals has one more shot to break it, now that AT&T has ended its nine-month battle with U.S. antitrust regulators and dropped its $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG.
Consumers will continue to choose from among four national wireless carriers, but will the industry admit new competitors Hedge-fund-backed LightSquared Inc. has grand plans to provide cheap wireless broadband but sits on a chunk of the airwaves that government-ordered tests show interfere with GPS devices; further testing over the next few months could determine whether the company will be able to launch its service. Satellite-TV operator Dish Network Corp. expects to hear from federal regulators soon about whether it can buy a chunk of the airwaves for its own national mobile network. And struggling mobile-broadband company Clearwire Corp. will upgrade its network to a more common standard. Then it needs to find new customers. If these upstarts make their numbers work, consumers might see new options. If not, Verizon and AT&T could use 2012 to run away with the market.
- AT&T Investors Face Risks if T-Mobile Deal Is Pulled, Says Fitch
- Sprint, T-Mobile Risk Being Stuck in Second Tier
- T-Mobile Rethinks Pricing
- T-Mobile Deal Would Remove Low-Price Rival
- Mixed news for AT&T in Consumer Reports wireless survey
- T-Mobile Redials Strategy
- AT&T-Union Alliance Frays
- What Does AT&T Dropping T-Mobile Deal Mean for Customers?
- AT&T Takes Top Spot as Sprint, T-Mobile Fall in Mobile Phone Customer Service Survey
- AT&T Hunts Spectrum
- Softbank CEO Won't Rule Out MetroPCS Bid
- AT&T Talks to Sell T-Mobile Assets Go Cold
- Trouble on the Verizon for AT&T
- How the iPhone Zapped Carriers
- FCC to Review Spectrum Ownership Concentration Policy