Life After Losing AT&T
By Eric Lin, Fri Feb 27 07:00:00 GMT 2004

If Cingular's bid to acquire AT&T Wireless is approved, AT&T, the wireline company, will no longer be able to offer its customers wireless service through the spin-off, but they're planning a cellular comeback. Without AT&T Wireless' network, Vodafone is forced to regroup and make the best of its stake in Verizon Wireless.

Assuming the sale of AT&T Wireless goes through, Cingular will get the resources, but the name will actually revert back to AT&T. Speaking today, AT&T CEO Dave Dorman said they do not intend to leave their customers without a wireless option. According to the Financial Times, AT&T is considering continuing to offer wireless service as an MVNO. However Dorman offered no hints on who AT&T might partner with. Although the FT mentions Sprint since they provide the network for Virgin Mobile, the new Cingular will probably have extra bandwidth to lease. Wouldn't that a coup?

Despite Vodafone's failed effort to purchase AT&T Wireless and separate themselves from Verizon, Verizon CEO Denny Strigl called their relationship "normal." Reuters also reportd Strigl announced Verizon will start to carry a new dual mode GSM / CDMA handset in April to allow global roaming for their subscribers. The dual mode handset was previously mentioned by both companies, so it is no big surprise. However the launch announcement, especially so soon after Vodafone's failed bid for AT&T, shows that whether relations are strained or not that Vodafone and Verizon will continue to work together to provide some sort of global network for their subscribers.

Reuters points out that both Verizon and Vodafone have both longed for a US network of their own. By losing their bid on AT&T, Vodafone actually lost a network for themselves as well as Verizon. AT&T lost a partner, but they have more to gain by becoming an MVNO. Their biggest loss wasn't two weeks ago, but when they spun off AT&T Wireless a few years ago.