The US Consumer and Communications Industry Association told political publication The Hill that the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile could hamper the mobile applications ecosystem, by giving the combined operator enough power to “block innovation in the wireless marketplace.” According to Edward Black, president of the group: “apps makers are given a fairly warm welcome because they are adding value and they make different phones or networks more appealing. But the terms and limits and conditions getting imposed are clearly getting more onerous and they don’t have the option to reject them when they don’t have another choice to go to.”
Both AT&T and T-Mobile already have significant smartphone and apps propositions, with the former offering Apple’s iPhone alongside a portfolio of Android devices, and the latter being something of an Android pioneer. With these two combining, the amount of power this alliance could wield over app providers is great, especially when they begin to align their value added service portfolios.
According to The Hill, Black said that many technology companies are against the merger, but will not state their views publicly due to a fear of irking the operators – which could have a significant impact on their businesses going forward. The report also notes that the Association for Competitive Technology, a group which claims to represent “small business innovators,” had previously said the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile will have “tremendous positive effects throughout the mobile apps ecosystem,” and that developers “will be able to reach more customers than ever before as the combined company embarks on its planned bold deployments of 4G LTE technology.”