Mobile telecoms in America美国移动通讯业
An audacious merger with a poor reception（注1）联姻大胆，反响不佳
AT&T’s ambitious bid to reshape America’s wireless market has spooked rivals. But it faces significant hurdles
PEOPLE who enjoy poking fun at the patchy quality of AT&T’s mobile-phone network in America were provided with some fresh comedy material this week. “So, AT&T and T-Mobile are getting married. You’re all invited. But there will be no reception afterwards,” tweeted one wag after news emerged on March 20th that AT&T had bid a breathtaking $39 billion for T-Mobile USA, a smaller wireless operator owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.
在美国，AT&T移动电话网络质量不稳常遭人取笑，那些以此为乐的人，本周有了新鲜笑料。3月20日，AT&T以390亿美元的惊人出价，竞购德国Deutsche Telekom公司旗下的小型无线通讯运营商T-Mobile USA，新闻曝光后，一条段子在Twitter上风传：“于是，AT&T跟T-Mobile喜结良缘。人人获邀出席。但之后却无人设宴，也无人赴宴。”
Amusing as this is, the deal itself is no laughing matter. On the contrary, the proposed merger, which needs the approval of antitrust and telecoms regulators, has sparked a good deal of controversy over whether it will be good or bad for American consumers. Some members of Congress have called for a thorough review of the transaction and consumer groups have been quick to condemn it.
Their concern is hardly surprising. America’s four largest mobile-phone operators—AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel—already account for 82% of the national market. Assuming the transaction goes ahead as planned, AT&T would add T-Mobile’s 34m customers to the 96m that it had at the end of 2010, propelling it well ahead of Verizon, its main rival.
他们如此关注，并不足为奇。美国四大移动电话运营商——AT&T、Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA及Sprint Nextel，已占全美无线通讯市场的82%。去年底，AT&T用户达9600万，倘若交易如期进行，T-Mobile的3400万用户也收归帐下，AT&T就将大大领先其主要竞争对手Verizon。
Critics of the deal, which AT&T hopes to complete within 12 months, say it will undermine efforts made many years ago to inject more competition into America’s telecoms industry. In the mid-1970s the government started investigating AT&T’s dominant position in fixed-line telephones, which led to the break up in 1984 of “Ma Bell” into eight pieces. Could the bid for T-Mobile be a sign that monopoly Ma is trying to return from her grave?