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I, Cringely AT&T needs T-Mobile most for its WiFi

In the 36 hours or so since ATT and Deutsche Telekom announced that the American carrier would be buying the U. S. subsidiary of the German phone company, there has been plenty of speculation (some of it right here) about what this will mean for customers and the wireless industry, but not very much, frankly, about why T-Mobile is worth $39 billion to ATT. It’s about more subscribers, we’re told as though that is obvious, and back-office savings, plus extra spectrum with some special plans for 4G, but that’s not the biggest reason at all. The biggest reason why ATT wants T-Mobile is because of WiFi.

Subscribers are nice, as are back-office and marketing savings, but unused spectrum — while it has value — also costs billions (and more importantly years and years) to build-out. But many of ATT’s current broadband service problems could be solved almost immediately by more creative

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