In the period leading up to Verizon's release of the iPhone, Brafton reported that mobile marketers should rejoice at the fact that this would give them the opportunity to use the iAd platform to reach a much larger audience. The release of Apple's product on Verizon's network gave AT&T less reason to celebrate, and it may have inspired the mobile service provider's recent acquisition of T-Mobile.
Over the weekend, AT&T announced that it will acquire T-Mobile USA (if U.S. regulators approve). AT&T claims in this move “enhances network capacity, output and quality in near term for both companies' customers.” AT&T says it will provide its 4G LTE service to T-Mobile's 34 million subscribers, in addition to its 95 million subscribers.
This move makes AT&T and T-Mobile (now jokingly called AT&T-Mobile or AT&T&T) the unified leader in terms of subscriber count. Verizon is said to have around 94 million subscribers, which will now pale in comparison to AT&T-Mobile. Sprint, with 49 million subscribers, has a lot of legwork to do if it hopes to maintain a competitive subscriber share.
On one hand, this could mean that marketers should be on the lookout for new marketing opportunities offered by AT&T and T-Mobile to reach a large share of mobile subscribers. On the other hand, the merger has left a bad taste in many mobile users' mouths because reduced competition could translate into more expensive, lower- quality service.
Marketers should follow along to see if the acquisition is approved by U.S. regulators, and monitor consumers' responses to said acquisition. No matter the fallout, mobile marketing is an avenue that shouldn't be ignored. As Brafton has reported, at the recent South by Southwest conference, Google execs confirmed that the mobile search market – mobile local, in particular – is on the rise.