Ironically Leap opposed the T-Mobile & AT& T merger in 2011
How things change in a short space of time. A relative US MNO [Mobile Network Operator] minnow, Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ: LEAP) looks set to be acquired by AT&T for $1.2 billion. The acquisition will give AT&T all of Leap’s assets, including a modest five million subscribers. Leap, of course, utilises the Cricket brand and is regarded as a significant player in the US pre-paid market where AT&T feels it is weak.
Ironically Leap opposed the T-Mobile USA & AT&T merger back in 2011 (see here).
AT&T expects the deal to get passed both the FCC and the US Department of Justice which will review the terms of the deal.
Naturally, once the deal goes through AT&T plans to expand Leap’s services to include its own LTE network.
Yet again, rumours have emerged that AT&T’s real interest in expansion is actually in Europe rather than the USA.
The US MNO regards the relative lack of 4G in Europe as a big opportunity. Allegedly it is looking at major players such as Vodafone and Telefonica.
GoMo News, however, thinks that AT&T misunderstands the dynamics of the European cellular market and views roaming fees as a bad thing.
The reality is that roaming is a valuable source of revenue to most global MNOs.
Given that the vast majority of North Americans don’t take their holidays [vacations] abroad, it’s not the sort of revenue the MNO is accustomed to.
However, AT&T is not alone in its misunderstanding of the dynamics of roaming for European MNOs.
The EU’s commissioner for telecoms – Neelie Kroes, wants to see high roaming charges phased out.
However, it is MNOs based in some of the EU’s weaker economies – such as Greece, Portugal and Spain who would lose out on roaming revenues.
That’s because they experience high numbers of tourists on their networks in the Summer months – the majority of whom come from Northern Europe.