There have already been serious rumors circulating that T-Mobile USA could merge with another mobile carrier in the United States. The question is whether regulators in the U.S. would allow such a merger to take place, but given that the big two – Verizon and AT&T – have pulled away from the pack, it isn’t hard to see that T-Mobile might need to partner with Sprint Nextel or Metro PCS to survive.
Of course T-Mobile has had an advantage in that it has some highly sought after handsets, notably the G1 – the first Google Android phone – and now the Nexus One. But is this enough when Verizon has done well with the Motorola Droid and AT&T still has the iPhone? Again, this might not be enough for regulators, but T-Mobile did get good news this week.
The European Union has given the thumbs up to a joint venture with T-Mobile UK and Orange UK, which will become U.K.’s mobile market leader with 29.5 million customers when the deal closes later this spring. No doubt American regulators will be watching very closely to see how this plays out across the pond.
T-Mobile USA meanwhile, has released fourth quarter and full year 2009 results, and actually the company isn’t doing too badly. According to the company, 3.9 million 3G-capable device users were on T-Mobile at the end of 2009, up from 40 percent from the end of the third quarter. The carrier also added 371,000 customers in the fourth quarter, which was up from a decline of 77,000 in the third quarter – still down from 621,000 a year prior. At the end of 2009, T-Mobile’s national 3G network had a reach of 205 million people, which was almost a doubling of the 3G footprint from a year prior.
This year T-Mobile has already brought out a couple of high-profile handsets, including the myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition, promoted by Eric Clapton. The company also announced the upcoming HTC HD2, a touchscreen smartphone that will feature functionality as an e-reader and mobile TV.
Rumors & Releases: Is the Microsoft Combatting the iPad at TechFest 2010?
Among the rumors in the mill this week is that Microsoft could announce Microsoft Mobile Surface. This suggests Microsoft could be ready to take the wraps off its own version of a mobile platform with a new portable device based on its surface computing system allowing any surface to become a touchscreen. Word is that Microsoft might unveil said device at its internal TechFest 2010.
As a side note, over the years I’ve been to some press-only Microsoft events at the campus in Redmond (one of the campuses anyway), and Microsoft doesn’t pull any punches with these – whether they’re in-house or external events. It is also worth noting that they come up with unique names for these events. This is TechFest, where as one past event I attended was Gamestock, a play on Woodstock, and that took place back when Microsoft was trying to become a major computer game publisher.