AT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson recently said in a Captains of Industry interview with Bloomberg that blocking his company’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA will increase wireless prices for consumers. Stephenson explained that AT&T needs T-Mobile in order to expand its already strained network capacity, and that Congress doesn’t understand wireless policy. “Regulators can’t keep up with the changes in the industry,” Stephenson said. AT&T recently withdrew its application from the FCC to acquire T-Mobile USA and said that it will first focus on a lawsuit brought against the merger by the Department of Justice. Should AT&T win the lawsuit, which is expected to begin in February, the carrier will then likely refile its application to purchase T-Mobile with the FCC. More →
Speaking during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Thursday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he was confident that his company “would do very well” when it offers the iPhone 5, despite the influx of competition that is expected if Sprint introduces the phone. Sprint could be in contention for data-hogging customers if it does indeed offer unlimited data with the iPhone 5 and recent rumors have suggested it will. “Anytime there’s another competitor launching Apple’s hit device, the expectations for what would happen to the carrier that had it before is overblown,” Stephenson said. “The competitive dynamic will be no different than last time,” he added, referring to when Verizon Wireless began offering the iPhone 4 this past February. Stephenson argued that AT&T’s iPhone can roam globally and that it offers a faster 3G network than Verizon Wireless and Sprint. More →
Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse has been a staunch opponent to AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. He has already proclaimed that the merger would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market, and now he’s stepping up his game. “Clearly, purely, we want to win and block the merger,” Hesse told Bloomberg in a recent interview. Reportedly, the CEO is working with 18 state regulators to stop the deal, and has even been speaking to CEOs of large U.S. tech firms to get others to speak out against the acquisition. Hesse says he wants the best for the entire industry, not just for Sprint. “The industry just won’t be as innovative and as dynamic as it has been,” he said. “It’ll gum up the works when everything has to go through these two big tollbooths, one that’s called AT&T and one that’s called Verizon.” AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, has argued the opposite. Stephenson says the merger will improve reliability on his network and will result in net job growth. Despite AT&T’s backing from major industry players such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Qualcomm, Hesse isn’t giving up. “An underdog is not thinking about the point spread; they’re thinking about winning the game,” Hesse said. “We can win this.” More →
AT&T will pay T-Mobile $3 billion in cash, a $1 billion roaming agreement, and $2 billion in spectrum if the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice reject AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. The agreement’s 15% breakup fee would shatter global records, Reuters said, noting that the 7.7% breakup cash agreement is already high. On Wednesday, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson met with the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the acquisition. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has argued that there’s already plenty of competition in the U.S. wireless market and that the deal will actually create jobs. Similarly, the Communications Workers of America backs the deal and believes it will be a “victory for broadband proponents. AT&T’s competition isn’t so sure. Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse said the deal would “stifle innovation” and the carrier believes it would create a “vertically integrated duopoly.” Verizon has kept to itself, but did note that, if confirmed, the deal could be “an excuse for the government to insert itself into the marketplace.” More →
The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom — and AT&T’s competitors won’t be sitting quietly. According to The Wall Street Journal, Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse, Viktor Meena of Cellular South, and Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), will all be in attendance. Competitors are expected to grill AT&T’s Randall Stephenson on the deal that Hesse has said will “stifle innovation” and competition in the U.S. wireless market. While there are rumblings that AT&T has more money for lobbying than Sprint and other competitors, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, Verizon, will not be in attendance. “We are concerned this is an excuse for the government to insert itself into the marketplace,” Thomas Tauke, Verizon’s executive vice president of public affairs, policy, and communication, told The Wall Street Journal. Verizon’s concerned that AT&T could bow to government pressure on net neutrality regulation in an effort to get the acquisition passed. Sprint thinks the deal is bad for other reasons, and one spokesperson said the carrier will “explain [that it thinks] this takeover of T-Mobile is bad for consumers, bad for innovation and bad for the economy,” and added that Sprint sees the deal as a “job killer” that will create a “vertically integrated duopoly.” Meanwhile Stephenson has argued that the deal — over time — will actually be a “net job grower,” and that there’s already plenty of competition in the U.S. wireless market. Similarly, Cohen of the CWA, has called the deal a “victory for broadband proponents.” Earlier this month the Department of Justice assured the public that it will perform an “in-depth” investigation of the deal.
AT&T’s plans to purchase Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA will get a thorough examination from government agencies, including antitrust and communications investigators, an FCC aide affirmed on Thursday. AT&T proposed the $39 billion deal on March 20th and a company spokesperson told Bloomberg that Ma Bell plans to file its official application to the Federal Communications Commission “around April 21st.” Once the application has been submitted, the FCC reportedly has 180 days to grant approval. However, one FCC employee told Bloomberg that the FCC isn’t always limited to 180 days, so it could take a bit longer before a final decision is released. The deal has been openly opposed by Sprint, which claimed the transaction would “harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it,” and one anonymous FCC official has said “there’s no way the chairman’s office [will] rubber-stamp” the deal. AT&T’s CEO Randall L. Stephenson sees things differently. On March 30th he said the acquisition will immediately improve reliability for AT&T customers, and argued that there’s plenty of wireless competition in the United States that will continue to help push prices down for consumers. More →
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson gave a keynote presentation at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday, during which he shared some interesting thoughts surrounding Apple’s iOS App Store. Stephenson expressed some distaste for the way Apple’s application ecosystem is set up at the moment, saying customers shouldn’t have to lose all of their apps if they switch to a device other than the iPhone. “You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” Stephenson said during his speech. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.” He went on to essentially call HTML5 the answer to the problem — more specifically, the carrier-run Wholesale Applications Community is the answer to the problem. WAC is a Web-based app store of sorts that houses Web apps theoretically compatible with any device that uses an HTML5-capable browser. The apps within will be limited in function for the time being, since only native apps can take advantage of all of the developer tools available for various platforms. That won’t stop carriers from pitching WAC, however, as they continue to search for ways to make money off of the booming economy apps have created. Each of the four major cellular carriers in the U.S. is a member of WAC, so expect to hear about it quite a bit moving forward. More →
During an televised interview with CNBC, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that his company’s efforts to repair its voice network have been paying off and that call quality is steadily improving. “We’ve been going hard at the voice quality issue,” Stephenson said, adding that AT&T’s network revamp, one which primarily focuses on particularly troublesome major cities such as San Francisco and New York, is nearly complete. Stephenson said AT&T customers can expect to use their phones as a phone by the end of the summer. Okay, that last bit was a joke. Sort of. More →