Get Your DAS Drakes and Ducks Lined Up

Politics make for strange bedfellows, but the pursuit of a common goal often makes an unthinkable alliance come to pass.  AT&T and Verizon Wireless jointly deployed a Distributed Antenna System at the University of Oregon Autzen stadium.   A joint venture like this makes sense for probably three reasons.

  • Economic efficiency – more than enough capacity for both companies in the DAS so why consider duplicate solutions?
  • Venue owner probably would not allow duplicate DAS.
  • Keeps Sprint and T-Mobile out of a high profile venue.  

What’s good for the drake is good for the duck.  T-Mobile and Sprint should take note and plot a different course than the current slash and burn race to the bottom.  AT&T and Verizon will certainly feel the heat of Sprint and T-Mobile tactics and counter in very measured and focused ways. Meanwhile, Sprint and T-Mobile inflict the most damage to each other. 

Instead of this stratagem, Sprint and T-Mobile should consider how to gain the scale they both need to compete with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.   Merger or acquisition is out of the picture, but perhaps they could explore a Joint Venture where they pool their infrastructure into an operating company and use the newly found scale to deal with their suppliers on a comparable footing to confront their larger competitors. 

There could be some angst at the DoJ/FCC about something like this, but if presented as a means to improve their cost basis, which funds their competitive stance, it could be a reasonable thing to pursue.  This might work well, but it probably won’t happen.