In light of merger, AT&T, T-Mobile need to give enterprise customers assurances


One nagging problem that AT&T's (NYSE: T) proposed $39-billion takeover of T-Mobile USA has created is the fact that T-Mobile subscribers aren't so wild about becoming AT&T subscribers, fearing AT&T will raise prices on them.

That cloud was hovering a few weeks ago when T-Mobile sweetened its deals for the enterprise by introducing a new solutions suite for enterprise and government users that runs the gamut of competitive services: enterprise messaging, telecom expense offering, secure mobile data access and mobile device management (MDM).

As such, I get the feeling that businesses are sitting on the sidelines waiting to find out whether AT&T will eventually increase prices. However, a new T-Mobile internal memo that helps customer service folks answer questions unearthed by TmoNews reveals that AT&T will honor T-Mobile's contracts "as long as they want to, even when their term ends and the service continues on a month-to-month basis."

That would be a key concession as AT&T battles out its approval to buy T-Mobile. As it stands, the Department of Justice has filed suit to stop AT&T's plans, fearing the anti-competitive nature of the deal.

T-Mobile would do best to make this pricing continuity more public and spell out what this means for both the consumer and enterprise customer. In previous operator mergers, customers have always been allowed to keep their contracts until they upgraded to new phones or changed the terms of their pricing plans. T-Mobile may not be an enterprise juggernaut but it has many niches that it can fill as a lower-cost provider. Analysts have noted its uptick in enterprise activations.

But if T-Mobile wants to be a serious contender in the enterprise market, and AT&T wants to welcome its enterprise customers with open arms, there can be no confusion about pricing and terms going forward. - Lynnette