High-end smartphones priced at $200 or higher made up more than 83% of the market last year, according to Informa. That share is expected to drop to 33% by 2017, however. The research firm predicts that by 2017 affordable smartphones, or those priced below $150 with no contract, will account for a majority of sales, CNET reported. The shift in the mobile industry isn’t good news for smartphone manufacturers, which are expected to see smaller profit margins as prices continue to drop. The market of the future is expected to become increasingly split between high-end smartphones that continue to be heavily subsidies by wireless carriers, and cheaper prepaid devices. More →
Verizon Wireless (VZ) and MetroPCS (PCS) have filed paperwork to appeal a Federal Communications Commission policy that prevents carriers from controlling apps and other services on devices that run on their networks. The FCC decision, which went into effect in December 2011, has already forced Verizon to stop its practice of blocking tethering apps while also fining the carrier $1.25 million. Both mobile operators, however, argue that the FCC is overstepping its mandate and look to reverse the decision. Verizon and MetroPCS argue that the ruling is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment, claiming that “broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech.” The carriers state that the rules are “arbitrary and capricious,” and also violate the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
At long last, prepaid wireless carrier MetroPCS (PCS) has a popular high-end device to go with its low-cost data plans. MetroPCS on Friday announced that it will now offer customers the Samsung (005930) Galaxy S III, although they’ll have to pay the full $499 to get it since MetroPCS isn’t subsidizing it. On the other hand, customers willing to pay the upfront expenses could save money on their wireless bills in the long run since they’ll be able to take advantage of the carrier’s $55 monthly plan that delivers unlimited voice, text messaging and LTE data on a single line. MetroPCS, which recently agreed to merge with T-Mobile, is one of the few wireless carriers still waiting for Apple (AAPL) to give it the green light to sell the iPhone. The company’s full press release is posted below.
Maybe the T-Mobile/MetroPCS (PCS) merger isn’t a done deal after all. As TmoNews reports, some MetroPCS shareholders have filed a lawsuit to block the merger and have accused the companies of “cheating shareholders” by “drastically” undervaluing MetroPCS’ worth and short-changing shareholders’ compensation. The disgruntled shareholders say that the merger has been “tainted by conflicts, tilted towards T-Mobile and driven entirely by the board and company management,” whom the shareholders allege will benefit disproportionately from the current terms of the deal at the shareholders’ expense. More →
Just after T-Mobile announced its merger agreement with MetroPCS last week, we started hearing rumblings that Sprint (S) was poised to make a compelling counteroffer that would get MetroPCS to break off its deal with T-Mobile and merge with Sprint instead. But now unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that Sprint is at least temporarily backing away from its plans “to gain time to scrutinize the carrier’s planned combination with T-Mobile.” This doesn’t mean Sprint is leaving the table all together, however, since Bloomberg says the company “may have as much as three months to bid before MetroPCS investors vote on the T-Mobile deal,” so it’s entirely possible that Sprint could swoop in to gobble up MetroPCS at a later date. More →
Despite the fact that MetroPCS (PCS) officially accepted T-Mobile’s offer to merge, Sprint (S) may attempt to counter T-Mobile’s offer with a more appealing one, according to a report from Business Week. The company is said to be crunching numbers and holding talks with its advisors to evaluate the price of MetroPCS. The nation’s third-largest carrier nearly purchased MetroPCS earlier this year before Sprint’s board vetoed the offer. The carrier reportedly began reevaluating an offer a few weeks ago, prior to T- Mobile’s deal being made public, and could have a decision as early as next week. The breakup fee could potentially hinder a counter off from Sprint, however: If T-Mobile pulls away from the deal it must pay MetroPCS $250 million, and if MetroPCS backs out it will pay T-Mobile $150 million. T-Mobile is said to be ready for Sprint’s counter bid and is willing to offer better terms if necessary. More →
Following the announcement that T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS would merge, the companies revealed plans to transition their current GSM and CDMA networks into a single HSPA+/LTE network within the next few years, The Verge reports. Due to the high device turnover rate among MetroPCS customers, the carrier will shutdown its CDMA network by 2015 and repurpose the spectrum for expanded 4G LTE coverage. Customers will be migrated to GSM-based devices offered by T-Mobile, while at the same time the carrier will continue refarming its 1900MHz spectrum to improve its GSM and HSPA+ coverage. More →
When thinking about Deutsche Telekom’s most recent attempts to merge T-Mobile with other carriers, consider the following three points. First, AT&T’s (T) average revenue per user is $65, while MetroPCS’s (PCS) ARPU is $41. T-Mobile has now pivoted from trying to merge with the highest-ARPU mobile operator in America to merging with the lowest-ARPU mobile operator in America. This is profoundly weird. The strategic objectives of these two merger attempts are perfect opposites. AT&T’s ARPU is so high it’s $9 above Verizon (VZ). T-Mobile switched from courting Kate Middleton to hooking up with Khloe Kardashian. This does not have to be a bad thing. But the low-end strategy is something completely different from what T-Mobile was planning to execute just months ago. More →
America’s fourth-largest wireless carrier is about to get a little larger. Unnamed sources have told the Wall Street Journal that the boards for both T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS (PCS) have approved a merger between the two American wireless carriers, thus giving T-Mobile another added boost as it prepares to launch its own LTE network next year. One source told the Journal that the newly-merged company “will be called T-Mobile and run by T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere.”
UPDATE: T-Mobile has officially confirmed its merger with MetroPCS in a company blog post. T-Mobile says that the merger is “structured as a recapitalization, in which MetroPCS will declare a 1 for 2 reverse stock split, make a cash payment of $1.5 billion to its shareholders (approximately $4.09 per share prior to the reverse stock split) and acquire all of T-Mobile’s capital stock by issuing to Deutsche Telekom 74% of MetroPCS’ common stock on a pro forma basis.”
MetroPCS, one of the top bargain wireless carriers in the United States, may soon be acquired by T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Unnamed sources told Bloomberg on Tuesday that the German telecom company was “nearing a deal with MetroPCS Communications Inc. to bolster its T-Mobile USA division,” implying that MetroPCS and T-Mobile could soon merge to create a large wireless carrier more capable of competing with rivals Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and Sprint (S). The sources told Bloomberg that “Deutsche Telekom’s board is scheduled to meet in Bonn tomorrow to approve a transaction and the German company may make an announcement as early as tomorrow.” The Bloomberg report doesn’t specifically say the two companies will merge but the news service reported last week that MetroPCS has been meeting with “suitors” interested in buying it.
Prepaid wireless carrier MetroPCS (PCS) is said to have held talks with Sprint (S), T-Mobile and Dish Network (DISH) over a potential buyout or merger. According to DealReporter some of the talks are ongoing. Potential buyout rumors have benefited MetroPCS’ stock, which has increased almost 40% in the past year. Analysts have previously speculated that such a transaction is a possibility, although it is seen as more likely that Sprint would purchase the carrier rather than T-Mobile, which operates its network using a different technology. MetroPCS has more than 9.5 million subscribers and operates the country’s sixth-largest mobile network. More →
MetroPCS (PCS) is en route to becoming the first U.S. carrier to utilize Voice Over LTE (VoLTE). CEO Roger Linquist on Thursday revealed at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference that his company plans to launch VoLTE in all of its LTE markets within the next four to six months, Fierce Wireless reported. MetroPCS launched the service in Dallas earlier this year, and while customers have reported improved voice quality, the company continues to face various technical challenges. “There are a number of changes that need to be made in base station optimization in Dallas,” Linquist said. “This is not your grandfather’s Buick. This is a different animal.” The executive also revealed that the carrier now has more than 1 million LTE subscribers and the churn rate among them was around 1% lower than the company’s overall average, which was 3.4% in the second quarter. More →
On August 21st, MetroPCS (PCS) unveiled a notably aggressive $55 unlimited 4G LTE plan. It promises unlimited voice, texting and 4G data for less than half of what a similar plan would cost at AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ). On August 22nd, T-Mobile unveiled a new unlimited plan starting at $70. A coincidence? Probably not; the budget carriers of America seem to be gearing up for a new assault on the Verizon-AT&T smartphone duopoly. We’ve seen unbelievably cheap smartphone campaigns from budget carriers before and they have never had much success. But this coming winter, demographic trends may finally begin favoring MetroPCS and its ilk. More →