AT&T Wireless Still Needs To Deploy 3G In Four Cities

Yesterday we noted that AT&T Wireless might be off the hook for their obligation to start up 4 cities with 3G service, as promised to investor DoCoMo. No such luck, apparently. The obligation still stands, and AT&T Wireless is responsible for lighting up 4 cities with 3G by the end of the year – or they owe NTT DoCoMo back the entire $6 billion. Cingular is apparently quite aware of the obligation, but says it’s up to AT&T Wireless to fulfill it prior to the close of the merger. Of course, they haven’t even named the cities yet, so they’ve got some work to do. Derek adds: To learn more about the AWE 3G obligations to DoCoMo, click here. By the way, I still think those obligations are moot. While AWE should continue to act under the terms of that deal, Cingular is going to enter into detailed negotiations with DoCoMo long before that deadline, and the 3G obligation will be on the table. At this point, DoCoMo couldn’t care less about it, so long as they get their $$$. Why would they care? They have idicated they will sell their stake to Cingular, and there are no roaming or scale economies because the flavor of 3G that AWE will pilot is UMTS at 1,900MHz, NOT at all compatible with DoCoMo’s FOMA. The obligations are just a bargaining chip for DoCoMo.

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