By Todd Bernhard on Sun, 03/20/2011
Did you hear that sound? If you felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of ringtones rang out, well... AT&T just gobbled up T-Mobile, for $39 billion. This consolidation, announced just before the industry's CTIA Wireless show, brings together the 2nd and 4th largest cellular carriers in the U.S., to create a new #1 provider. Both vendors use GSM technology which should make it easier to integrate the two firms and their customers. T-Mobile is known for no-contract and data-only plans (previously only available to iPhone owners via jailbreaking), so perhaps such options will make their way to the iPhone, although it will take a year for the merger to complete. FCC approval will be required, but it is probably inevitable. As long as Verizon is still as strong as they are, and both firms offer the iPhone, I don't think the FCC will raise too many objections. But Verizon is going to be looking at Sprint with new affection.