at&t and General and Spectrum and SprintNextel and T-Mobilechris on 26 May 2011 08:17 am

In my last dish, I emphasized how important it was for at&t to go beyond their typical playbook to get approval for their merger with T-Mobile. The company has done just that and continues to move the ball forward on messaging and the approval process.

Once again, I’m not going to go on the record (yet) on my opinion on the deal. Instead, I will offer a few thoughts for my friends at at&t and Sprint to chew on…  Enjoy!

Silicon Valley - I love at&t’s proactive outreach to this community. In 2004, the mobile-social revolution was not on the radar and we did not have to court the valley. However, the innovations and services driving the wireless ecosystem is a real success story for the industry. At the moment, there is a ton of money being invested in everything mobile. This group has a huge stake in this deal, and having them on board or just neutralized is huge.

Continue Reading »

at&t and Spectrum and T-Mobilechris on 21 Mar 2011 01:55 pm

A month ago, I wrote on my Facebook wall:

friendly advice for T-Mo & Sprint – did George Washington play by the same rules as the British in the Revolutionary War? he did not. you cannot play the game the same way as your much larger enemy or you will continue to lose (or eventually become extinct).

The recent news yesterday regarding T-mobile’s acquisition by at&t confirms the above.

Moving beyond competitive strategy in both the marketplace and in Washington, the above combination is going to dominate the telecom policy conversations in DC for the next 12-18 months.  I’m not going to delve into the matter of whether this is good for consumers or not.  I want to focus my thoughts on some issues that my friends at at&t and T-Mo need to consider as they work to get approval.  Continue Reading »

at&t and General and T-Mobilechris on 11 Dec 2007 04:16 pm

An intersting conversation on twitter spurred this post.

This morning, one of Verizon’s bloggers (CZ) mentioned the lack of press coverage following a USA Today story on AT&T’s announcement on opening their network (he did not link the article on Twitter). I was not surprised one bit. Here’s why:

With regard to technology and policy, Mainstream media (MSM) is primarily interested in battles and watching all the hype create chaos. Here’s some examples –

Licensed vs Unlicensed
Old (Teleco’s) vs New (Tech Co’s)
Open vs Closed
Hands off the Internet vs. Save the Internet

As I mentioned in the Twitter post, these distinctions no longer matter. Rapid advances in technology have obliterated these silos.

One real disservice over the years was the constant echo from some reporters about how Wi-Fi would be the “death nail” for cellular. At my former company (AT&T Wireless), we didn’t see the technology as a threat. In fact, we embraced it and were looking to set up services in airports and hotels. We also supported and helped legislative efforts (Senator Barbara Boxer & Senator George Allen initiative – “Jumpstart Broadband Act”) to free up 255 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band (which utilizes 802.11).

There were other reasons to follow this strategy. As I have mentioned previously, we were spectrum capped (Regulators had a spectrum cap on carriers – it no longer exists) and over subscribed. Accordingly, Wi-Fi would enable folks to get off the cellular network. Over half of cellular calls are fixed calls (in your apartment, at airport etc.) so it made sense to free up capacity. On a technology point, Wi-Fi has not demonstrated hand-off (at high-speed or distances) as well. Therefore, mobility will always be a core competency of the cellular network.

Unfortunately, we were never able to execute on our Wi-Fi initiatives due to being acquired by Cingular. However, a great deal of what T-mobile is doing (with UMA and Hotspots) is what AT&T envisioned.

at&t and General and Google and SprintNextel and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 05 Dec 2007 07:23 pm

The snow is falling and if you participate in the District of Communications, you are probably at the FCBA’s Chairman’s Dinner. I decided not to attend this year.

With regard to the dinner, I will definitely miss seeing and catching up with everyone in the telecom business. However, I will not miss Chairman Martin’s attempt at comedy this evening. Perhaps, everyone will attend late and inconvenience him as he does the hard working folks at the FCC at recent open meetings.

Here’s some additional rants from the kitchen -

Verizon & Openess – A bunch of folks are making a big deal out of Verizon’s announcement. This was not a shocker because this is part of the evolution of the industry. at&t and T-mobile have been showing signs of it with dual mode phones as well as T-mobile and Sprint supporting Android (Google’s Linux-based open handset platform). I expect at&t to join the cause too…

Sprint’s woes – Verizon’s move really hurts Sprint. As many know, Sprint has been bleeding valuable subs for many months. Verizon’s move will make it that much easier to leave.

Sprint’s got other problems too. Their 800 MHz reband effort has been a disaster. That initiative has proved to be more costly then originally estimated and is taking alot longer to execute. The company also has no CEO and they recently canned their WiMax partnership with Clearwire… With forty percent of their current subs predisposed to leave — the future is not bright.

New Venture – The name of my new business (drum roll please) — Tin Can Communications ™. It is a very exciting time and I really appreciate all of the support from the mobile dining community.

On related note, I plan on having a launch party after the holidays and all readers of the blog are invited!

This post was edited.

at&t and General and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 07 Nov 2007 02:10 pm

Gizmodo reports that T-mobile has joined Verizon Wireless and at&t by announcing to pro-rate Early Termination Fees (“ETF”).

Way to go T-mobile!

at&t and Broadband and CTIA and General and Policychris on 04 Oct 2007 06:39 am

Flickr photo credit – juicyrai

On Tuesday Yesterday, I picked up the Wall Street Journal and read with enthusiasm about at&t’s potential wireless efforts in India.  At the same time, I was trying to block out the noise coming from the House Commerce Subcommittee Hearing.

With regard to the hearing, it was primarily focused on special access, forbearance petitions at the FCC, muni-broadband deployment, and copper retirement.  As always, Chairman Markey (D-MA) put together a great panel, but the regulatory tone emanating from the Committee was quite troublesome.

Wireless is not immune to calls for regulation.  As we know, Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) is leading the charge to empower the states who have been craving to get their hands on wireless.  In any case, it is good to see other countries who have seen the good and know what wireless can do promote it.  Seeing is believing and I applaud the Indian regulators for tweaking their regulations to facilitate foreign operators’ investments in their country.  Unfortunately, we’ll just have to deal with the wireless whining on Capitol Hill.

On that note, the Senate Commerce Committee will have a hearing on wireless issues on October 17th.  I am hopeful that some lawmakers will offer ways to enable wireless broadband deployment instead of just complaining about our “glorified radios.”

dish disclosure -  CTIA is a client of our firm.

at&t and GeneralAshley on 10 Aug 2007 01:45 pm

This summer has seen a welcome lull in the heated rhetoric of the net neutrality debate compared with last year. But now, the issue may begin percolating again, both on and off the hill, thanks to an incident that has absolutely nothing to do with net neutrality. In a recent Pearl Jam concert that was webcast live by AT&T, some anti-Bush statements were censored out. The band and some interest groups were upset by the censorship, understandably, and criticized AT&T (who claims that the censorship was accidental and was monitored by a third party vendor). But instead of criticizing the company on the grounds of creative infringement alone, the band and other groups are accusing AT&T of violating net neutrality, and are using the incident to promote the importance of the issue. This claim is not just inappropriate in that net neutrality does not deal with data prioritization based on content but rather on type, but also ironic in that quality video delivery – like the Pearl Jam webcast – is exactly the kind of content that companies seek to improve with data prioritization.

Even though this is not really an instance of anti-net neutrality practices, this incident reveals the vast disadvantage service providers have in this debate. It doesn’t take much to rally the troops on this issue, and as we saw last year, their messaging on the hill is pretty effective. The net neutrality debate is not over, and companies should have a messaging arsenal at the ready in preparation for a potential ramp-up. They have their work cut out for them.


at&t and General and Policy and Spectrum and Verizon Wirelesschris on 01 Aug 2007 02:54 pm

The FCC voted and adopted a revised 700 MHz band plan and service rules yesterday.  There were really no surprises.  We knew Chairman Martin had the votes and we heard him justify his proposal last week in the House Commerce Committee.

With regard to the rules, I thought an interesting take-away from the meeting was majority concern with the Chairman mandating a reserve price on the spectrum auction.  As you may know, Martin has put a reserve price on the C-block spectrum of $4.6 billion and the whole auction at $10 billion.  Martin has taken this step to make sure that the auction brings the miniumum expected proceeds to the federal treasury (which Congress will use for deficit reduction and other initiatives).

Here’s what they said:  

Adelstein – “the reserve price and second auction requirements set out in this item leave open a real potential for gaming and may result in unintended consequences.”

Copps“the item now imposes reserve prices on each of the individual spectrum blocks, something without precedent in previous auctions and something, it seems to me, rather at odds with letting the market pick the auction block winners.”

McDowell- “with respect to auction reserve prices, I believe these are best left to market forces.”

Micro-managing competition is never a good idea.  Trying to satisfy one large company’s business model at the expense of other carriers (especially small rural carriers) is not in the public interest.  at&t and Verizon will survive the tailored 700 MHz rules – the small guys will sell.  The auction process is not perfect but it has proved to be better than any beauty contest the FCC has held.  Chairman Martin may have cooked up a recipe that nobody seems to be craving - only time will tell…

Dish disclosure – Our firm represents CTIA and the Wireless Broadband Coalition (at&t and Verizon Wireless are members) on spectrum issues.