AT&T’s bid to buy and shut down competitor T-Mobile didn’t get far, and AT&T has officially killed the deal. Now T-Mobile is forced to reinvent itself. It lost nearly a million subscribers while the AT&T buyout was pending, because people don’t like making a two-year commitment to an operation that is preparing to close. This is a financial blow, but by cutting some of the ties to the past, it puts the company in the best position of any wireless carrier to transform itself into the wireless company of the future, based on the assets it has.
As the most obvious example, since T-Mobile doesn’t own lots of spectrum rights, it could be the first phone company to finally make good use of wifi. Whatever T-Mobile’s answer is, though, now is the time.