Can AT&T buy T-Mobile? Five key factors.

Geographic coverage

One FCC goal is increasing wireless coverage in rural and poor areas of the country.

AT&T argues the combination of the two companies will expand 4G (Fourth Generation) LTE (Long Term Evolution) to 95 percent of the US population – both urban and rural. “Rural and smaller communities will substantially benefit from the expansion of the 4G LTE deployment,” it argues.

Tardiff responds that the issue is really how much of the increased coverage would have happened even if the merger had not taken place.

AT&T says the merger will give it as many new cell towers as five years of construction. More tower sites means fewer dropped calls, a frequent complaint of some AT&T users.

In fact, when AT&T began its ad campaign featuring iPhone “apps,” with the tagline, “There’s an app for that,” Verizon responded with ads saying, “There’s a map for that,” a jab at AT&T’s limited coverage and showcasing Verizon’s own coverage map, says Tardiff.

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