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Users of AT&T and T-Mobile Tell Them to Stick It
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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AT&T: "Rethink Possible." T-Mobile: "Stick Together."

Two strong cellular brands. Two so-so monikers. And then, the wireless world dropped one cacophonous call when the two brands "rethought" their space in the industry and got "together." Now, a Cingular singular-sized throng of cell phone users are yawping that the two brands need to "Stick it!"

Well, them and the CEO of Sprint Dan Hesse who needs to use the warm fuzzies of his commercials to keep him sheltered in the winter, because this deal leaves his company out in the cold.

He told an audience at the wireless event that the acquisition by AT&T would consolidate too much power in the mobile-phone market. “I have concerns it would stifle innovation,” Hesse said.

Yeah, innovation. Yes, I would be concerned about the synergistic wiles of my tech guys upon hearing the news. So, I call bull... largely because of this for the linked Bloomberg story:

Sprint shares fell 14 percent yesterday on concern AT&T’s $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile, announced March 20, will leave the Overland Park, Kansas-based carrier a weaker No. 3 player in the U.S. The deal still needs regulatory approval. Sprint also held talks about buying T-Mobile, people with knowledge of the matter said this month.

Now we're on to something. So, if this is a capitalistic society, why all the bad press? At least, other than the obvious mishaps this merger is going to bring current T-Mobile users (so says the current AT&T customer). See some issues from beyond the New York Times paywall.

“Without some of the smaller competitors, you won’t have the competitive pressure that leads to lower prices and innovations and offerings among the carriers,” said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor at Consumer Reports.

Some people consider this merger to be the admission of what's wrong with each company and brand. AT&T has become almost legendary with its rueful customer service, while T-Mo has CSRs who descended from heaven. On the other hand, I've been told you can't pick up a T-Mobile call in middle of a busy suburban outlet mall while AT&T prides itself on its bars. You know, before the call drops in the middle of that call with your boss.

What should be one of the happiest days in the history of the No. 2 and 4 companies has been a fortnight full of cynicism, angst, and meh. (Yes, that's now a noun. Sue me.) Regardless if Sprint's yellow stripes turn green with envy, and Ranjit and Chad miss their high-five out of sheer elation, I have a hunch the new super cell is about to uh, "reach out and touch someone." Their marketing team. Good times.

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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