By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
Mayo Flynt, AT&T Mississippi’s president, said the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile would benefit customers, bringing mobile broadband access to 97 percent of the U.S. population.
“That’s especially significant for rural states like Mississippi with so much of its population in rural and small communities,” he said.
ATamp&T announced in March it had agreed to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, with hopes to close the deal in about a year. The deal must still meet regulatory approval.
“We’ve long heard about ‘closing the digital divide,’ and this merger would do that,” Flynt said.
He said prior to the merger, AT&T had planned to eventually be able to offer 4G service to about 80 percent of the population.
“From a Mississippi standpoint, we would be able to offer 1 million more Mississippians with the merger than without,” he said.
AT&T officials, including Flynt, say the company is facing a spectrum crunch in which the volume of data threatens to overload the system.
By partnering with T-Mobile, AT&T can use its spectrum and expand its broadband network.
For AT&T, mobile data use grew some 8,000 percent nationwide during the past four years because of the explosion in smartphones and tablet computer usage. And by 2015, data use is expected to be up to 10 times higher than what it was in 2010.
“We need more capacity to serve our customers; we need more spectrum,” Flynt said.
He said AT&T and T-Mobile use the same GSM technlogy and the companies have compatible networks, which is why AT&T looked at acquiring T-Mobile.