BELLEVUE, Wash. (TheStreet) -- T-Mobile may have been fourth place among wireless carriers, but the U.S. is going to miss much more about T-Mobile than Catherine Zeta-Jones commercials.
TheStreet stepped outside the the current mobile zeitgeist for a moment and singled out T-Mobile's five biggest gifts to the mobile customer, as well as five innovations we may miss out on if Deutsche Telekom's out of the picture. It's a nice little stroll down a tech memory lane until it slams into a wall of lament between us and all the gifts and gadgets that could have been:
T-Mobile Gift 1: The Wi-Fi hotspot
Year given: 1994-2001
Many years ago, people went to coffee shops to sip coffee and have conversations. Records of these kinds of interactions can be found in old reruns of Friends, Frasier and other television shows from the mid-'90s that feature coffee shops eerily devoid of laptops and cafe tables converted into offices.
T-Mobile had a big part in changing all of that, if only accidentally. Back in 1994, AMD employee Brett Stewart struck a licensing deal for the original 802.11 MAC that eventually yielded the IEEE 802.11 standard that makes the wireless you enjoy today possible. Stewart's deal helped him found a little company that year called Plancom (Public LAN Communications). That company eventually evolved into something called MobileStar, which really took off when Starbucks
Though Starbucks eventually bounced the HotSpots for AT&T service, later free, T-Mobile's place as a footnote in wireless history was already secure. Not only is Wi-Fi a standard feature in even the most basic "smart" devices; it's the reason this paragraph was written and filed from a train.