AT&T and T-Mobile merger off: when upstream supply chain consolidation alarms consumers

Supply chain consolidation is a huge mantra in supply management. When you consolidate supplies with fewer suppliers, things become easier to manage . And this is exactly what At&T was trying to do by buying up T-Mobile so that all that wireless bandwidth became available to feed the zooming demand for wireless data via mobile phones,iPads and so on. The AT&T  and T Mobile merger would have  created an entity with 120 million customers, the largest telecom company and with Verizon controlling 80% of the US market.

So what is the problem : when band width becomes available it's good for AT&T, T-Mobile and the entire industry? Not so if you watch this video from LA Times. Obviously, supply chain consolidation is not going well in this case of upstream supply chain consolidation.

It's not so much that monopolies are frowned upon as much as in the heyday of antitrust law enforcement. But in this particular case consumers seem to have bad experiences with US cell phone operators. In fact, from the other end of the supply chain,i.e., the customer end both AT&T and T-Mobile are consistently rated at the bottom by Consumer Reports. And these bad ratings could not help the merger case that AT&T and T-Mobile were trying to build on the grounds of increasing bandwidth.

On the other hand if within the wireless industry, AT&T and T-Mobile had very high customer satisfaction perhaps the supply chain consolidation logic might have worked with the public and the Government regulators. 

Both AT&T and T-Mobile have a lot of work to do. And that work is not on the upstream consolidation of  spectrum but trying to get the wireless customer side right.

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