The news that AT&T was going to buy T-Mobile for a cool $39 billion surprised, and even shocked, a lot of people. I don’t know why. AT&T and T-Mobile have been working together technically and operationally for years.
As Glenn Fleishman, wireless networking expert, points out in his latest blog, “One of the dirtiest barely secrets of the modern mobile cell world is that AT&T doesn’t really have national 2G coverage, much less 3G. AT&T leans on T-Mobile for a large number of areas it never spent to cover. This stems from an agreement years ago when AT&T Wireless consolidated on GSM service, and T-Mobile was building out its initial GSM service. In 2004, the companies dissolved a cooperative agreement (when Cingular bought what was then AT&T Wireless), but roaming never disappeared.”