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Leaked AT&T Letter Damages Case For T-Mobile Merger

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the who-here-is-surprised dept.

AT&T 201

An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday a partially-redacted document briefly appeared on the FCC website, accidentally posted by a law firm working for AT&T on the $39 billion T-Mobile deal (somewhere there's a paralegal looking for work today). While AT&T engaged in damage control, telling reporters that the document contained no new information, a review of the document shows that's simply not true. Data in the letter undermines AT&T's primary justification for the massive deal, while highlighting how AT&T is willing to pay a huge premium simply to reduce competition and keep T-Mobile out of Sprint's hands."

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Nothing new here (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073868)

No, really there isn't. Corporate takeovers to stifle the competition is normal practice ( hell its the primary reason they exist ), so nothing 'new' was really released here.

Re:Nothing new here (5, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074004)

You're right, anyone who is surprised by this is, well, lacking in foresight, to put it diplomatically. The merger was obviously about anti-competition, especially given that T-Mobile is one of only two contract companies (Sprint is the other) to undercut Verizon and At&T prices and data caps. This deal should not only not go through, the attempt should result in massive penalties against AT&T (splitting the company? Forced regulation of prices or removal of data caps? Ah, one can dream.) More likely, this will be brushed under the table, the right people will get "campaign donations", and everything will go smoothly. For AT&T. And the customers will get screwed. More screwed, that is. But, in the wireless provider business in America, that's pretty much how these things go.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074314)

Actually, there is one new surprise....

The actual document leak was a surprise. Everything else is something we all expected.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

kakyoin01 (2040114) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074728)

The actual document leak was a surprise. Everything else is something we all expected.

This, although I don't think it's as surprising as it is facepalm-worthy.

Re:Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074744)

AT&T MO. Buy competition for less than it would cost to improve service.

I'm all for valuable takeovers (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074704)

When they're for good reasons.

Apple bought a couple chip design firms, seriously helped Apple compete against the likes of Samsung in the mobile space.

Disney bought Pixar to revive its dying animation business and basically salvage a profitable relationship, gaining talented Pixar execs who could all-around revive Disney's creative side (I still think Pixar halfway bought Disney).

But this one was obvious. There is no logical reason for this purchase other than shrinking the choice of the consumer.

Re:I'm all for valuable takeovers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37075298)

Maybe they wanted Carly Foulkes? Some people are into hot Canadian chicks. For example, I know several slashdotters who have girlfriends from Canada.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

ischorr (657205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074944)

It's something we all know. But it's tougher for the bought-off politicians to ignore if AT&T's own documents publicly support it. Remember, AT&T's public statement is that it will actually INCREASE competition; they're not stifling anything.

So why would you "meh" this, except to be That Guy On The Internet?

Re:Nothing new here (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075240)

Just because it's 'normal practice' and 'nothing new' doesn't mean there shouldn't be some red flags, or at least some general outrage. Competition is necessary for a well functioning market place. When a deal is done for the sole purpose stifling competition at the expense of the consumers, then that is exactly the reason and place for regulation.

I don't think much will come of it (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073870)

They'll just get a slap on the wrist for lying. Worst case, the CEO will "resign" (aka: early retirement w/benefits) for good PR and the whole thing forgotten in a month.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (4, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073992)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to make ends meet on a one-time 165 million dollar payout? Because the CEO will be toxic if he resigns over this, he'll never work for more than maybe 10 million a year again.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074028)

Cry me a river.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074158)

Hey, if I can (just barely) make it on an $85M one time pay out, I'm sure he can make it on double that.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074272)

Go fuck yourself, you rich bastard!

Re:I don't think much will come of it (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074332)

Ahhh, insightful repartee on my subtle use of sarcasm.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074552)

Hey, if I can (just barely) make it on an $85M one time pay out, I'm sure he can make it on double that.

You could give me a measly $75M instead of giving this other person $85M. I think I could somehow manage to survive, though it will be tough.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074576)

Sorry, I can't live on 5% bonds of only $10M. $500k/year is just untenable for life.

Re:I don't think much will come of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074606)

Maybe the government will bail him out.

Merger will still happen (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073874)

So can anyone name a merger that the government has successfully stopped?

Re:Merger will still happen (2)

loganljb (1424009) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073970)

The Honeywell / GE Merger in 2001, for one. That was stopped by the EU, not the FCC, but the idea is the same.

Re:Merger will still happen (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074862)

Not really. The EU is actually functional...ish... sometimes.

Re:Merger will still happen (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074094)

Adaptec used to do the same thing: buy competitors and close them; happened to more than one of the vendors I used.

When LSI Logic (only significant competitor for Adaptec at the time, and particularly useful in embedded systems) came on the block, the sale was blocked, so we weren't forced into a single (and, IMO, less competent) source for SCSI chips.

Re:Merger will still happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074466)

Everything Oracle bought from Sun. Merge and Extinguish.
Everything Cisco bought from Linksys, Merge and Extinguish.

When Cingular bought AT&T Wireless, we all saw this coming, the babybells re-merging, just like the Imperial Oil breakups remerging. Only Imperial Oil is still 3 large companies from it's 34 fragments. AT&T, the only National fragment it doesn't have IS Verizon.

However duopolys are as bad as monopolies. Just look up north to Canada. AT&T/T-Mobile is similar to the Rogers-Fido deal. All they did was eliminate their only roaming-coverage competitor. Telus/Bell then switched to the same technology Rogers/Fido uses (GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSPDA/LTE) and a few new carriers were introduced on GSM signaling but incompatible frequencies (The same ones T-mobile uses for their 3G.)

So ultimately it's a lose-lose situation. If the deal goes through, you lose the value competitor. If the deal doesn't go through, they will be bought by the carrier with the crappy techology (Sprint has a mishmash of CDMA, iDEN and now partnering with even less compatible technologies, what the fuck are they thinking) and end up with... literately substandard service. It would be nice if T-Mobile and Sprint were to drop the lunacy and switch to the same LTE that everyone-that-isn't-Verizon is using.

Re:Merger will still happen (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074748)

AT&T, the only National fragment it doesn't have IS Verizon.

No, there's also CenturyLink, which bought Qwest, which bought US West, which owned Mountain Bell, Northwestern Bell, and Pacific Northwest Bell.

Once CenturyLink, Verizon, and AT&T merge, that's it for the 1983 divestiture.

Re:Merger will still happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074216)

United Airlines and US Airways.

Re:Merger will still happen (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074474)

The merger of Steve and Bill or the merge of Laura and Lucy.

'Acceidentally'? No. (2)

microcentillion (942039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073936)

'Leaking' a statement of that magnitude was 100% intentional by someone who didn't want it 'going down without a hitch'. You know it's true.

Re:'Acceidentally'? No. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074084)

'Leaking' a statement of that magnitude was 100% intentional by someone who didn't want it 'going down without a hitch'. You know it's true.

A paralegal willingly giving up their job for the benefit of faceless consumers? ... in this economy?

Re:'Acceidentally'? No. (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074140)

A paralegal willingly giving up their job for the benefit of faceless consumers? ... in this economy?

They're probably a T-Mobile customer and already had a job in a different field lined up.

Re:'Acceidentally'? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074848)

What about whistle blower money. That could take 10 years + to pay out. The fired person would then get a 10M settlement, which they could get half of, (after the lawyers). So the person who did it could be simply looking for an all expenses paid 10 year holiday. Or they could settle in a back room today for 1million. Just hope they do it.

Re:'Acceidentally'? No. (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075128)

Believe it or not, there are people who would do that, even in this economy. The may come as a shock to you, but someone people will die for other people.
You surprise belays an undertone of selfishness that is beneath you.

Re:'Acceidentally'? No. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075106)

Because no one ever makes a mistake. If they wanted it leaked, it would have been directly to the papers.

Somewhere there is an IT guy taking the rap for some paralegals mistake.

US cell system (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37073950)

I was a recent visitor to the USA and was astonished at the 3rd world nature of its cell system. I had never imagined it was so bad, before visiting. Why USAians don't demand better regulation is a mystery to me. They seem intent on defending the very thing that makes their lives miserable compared with most developed nations.

This was also the impression I had of its subway system. I've ridden subways in Moscow, Tokyo, London, and other major cities. All were clean, safe, and the sort of system a developed nation can be proud of. The subways in the US smelled of urine (!!), were infested by RATS (!!), covered with trash, and had the feel of a thing you'd only want to use if you do not value your personal safety. This was my first exposure, and really changed the view I used to have of the USA as an advanced nation. It really is on par with some very poor and undeveloped countries in terms of civic infrastructure.

Re:US cell system (0)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074148)

I was a recent visitor to the USA and was astonished at the 3rd world nature of its cell system. I had never imagined it was so bad, before visiting.

What exactly did you find so subpar? Service from just about any carrier should have been good considering you were in a city with a subway. My experience with world phones in Europe wasn't exactly thrilling. I bought a sim in London and then got to pay 2 pounds per day just to turn it on in Spain. What union/country/territory do you live in who's carriers have seemingly gotten it so right?

Re:US cell system (2)

Macrat (638047) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074454)

I bought a sim in London and then got to pay 2 pounds per day just to turn it on in Spain. What union/country/territory do you live in who's carriers have seemingly gotten it so right?

You're upset that a SIM bought in one country continued to work (for a fee) in a completely different country?

Re:US cell system (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074844)

I bought a sim in London and then got to pay 2 pounds per day just to turn it on in Spain. What union/country/territory do you live in who's carriers have seemingly gotten it so right?

You're upset that a SIM bought in one country continued to work (for a fee) in a completely different country?

Probably because in the US you can travel 2x the distance from Spain to the UK and still not pay extra when you use your cell phone - the whole notion just because I cross on member state's border I should automatically be gouged for using a cell is a bit archaic. I mean, the EU and the US are roughly the same size and in theory the EU is a unified trading area.

Re:US cell system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37075052)

This is the great thing about SIM-based systems -- just get another SIM in Spain. It's tempting to compare the EU and the US, in that they're both continent-wide confederations of states, with each state having its own independent gov't, but in reality, the EU is a much looser confederation than the US.

(I live in the US, and have only been to one other country (Switzerland, if it matters) on one occasion, so I'm in no position to defend the Swiss (or European in general) mobile system, but your complaint sounds like unreasonable expectations, not a crappy mobile system.)

Re:US cell system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074170)

I was a recent visitor to the USA and was astonished at the 3rd world nature of its cell system. I had never imagined it was so bad, before visiting. Why USAians don't demand better regulation is a mystery to me. They seem intent on defending the very thing that makes their lives miserable compared with most developed nations.

Well, it's beginning to sink into our heads that the widely held belief that politicians know what we want and are willing to represent us and the good of the nation is not really true. (Whew! Try diagramming *that* sentence!). Massive riots aren't just yet about to happen though. Personally, I'd like to see energy and communications nationalized, but I won't hold my breath.

Re:US cell system (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074392)

So your answer to bad politicians is to give them even more power?

Re:US cell system (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074834)

So your answer to bad politicians is to give them even more power?

The reductive reasoning of a Rome-burner.

Re:US cell system (-1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074194)

Regulation was what got us into this mess in the first place by providing government money to "modernize" the US, first with telephones and telegraphs, then into cell phones and ISPs. The lack of any real competition (the government isn't going to hand out money to start-ups) meant that power was concentrated in the hands of a handful of companies.

Regulation got us into this mess and regulation won't get us out of this mess.

Re:US cell system (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074568)

Are you serious? Yeah, letting AT&T do and charge what they please when they are 1 of 3 soon to be 1 of 1 cell phone carrier will solve all the problems. Good call Rush.

Re:US cell system (1)

Chaonici (1913646) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074634)

You're right. Let's allow big corporations to do whatever they want, and let the free market decide. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Sure, we'll end up with one massive carrier with absolutely horrid service and no competition, but it came about because of the free market, so that makes it okay, right?

Remind me again which part of "promoting the general welfare" that falls under.

Re:US cell system (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074754)

No, no, no. You just don't get it. There is no free market because of the government. If there were no government to distort the free market, we would currently have hundreds of competing carriers with excellent service, speeds, *and* price.

--Jeremy

Re:US cell system (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074850)

Regulation got us into this mess

What universe are you living in? Subsidies are not regulation.

You are a dum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074874)

This is probably one of the most ignorant posts I've seen on Slashdot. And that's saying a lot. So much fail compressed into so few words.

Re:US cell system (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074886)

Ahahaha! You had me going for a moment there... I guess there's no way you could be serious. I know there are the supply and demand things that the market runs on, but the demand for communications, power, fuel and healthcare among others are limitless. As alternatives of choice lower, the race to the bottom begins as they lower quality and raise prices knowing that you have nowhere else to go if you don't like it.

In the case of the telecoms, they are in default on their agreements to the US people and it's about time the US government called them to task on it. What agreement would that be? They paid for the right to use the radio frequencies they use in exchange, they are supposed to provide a net benefit to the people while building out infrastructure all over. What we get in return is fraudulent charges such as cost for text messaging which literally occupies no additional data load and mysterious charges that people frequently ignore and of course cherry-picking infrastructural improvements leaving poor areas with limited to no service.

All of this is probably common knowledge to someone like you and so I can only surmise you are pulling a Stephen Colbert gag saying the opposite of what you mean.

Re:US cell system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074222)

We put our money towards blowing up other countries. We don't care about our own.

Anything in the federal budget that moves this country forward is essentially a rounding error compared to spending on military, subsidies (SS,medicare,unemp,etc), and debt payments.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fy2010_spending_by_category.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Re:US cell system (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074444)

Once you get out of Manhattan, the place gets better.

I promise.

Re:US cell system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074688)

Nah, not really. Go to any large city (which will be the only cities with public transit), and the conditions are the same. You can't make a profit off of poor people trying to get to work, so they don't.

Re:US cell system (2)

stalky14 (574130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074764)

Your Phone experience was probably AT&T, since it has the frequencies that most foreign phones roam to the US on. You're absolutely right about the (lack of) regulation here, but it's too late to change all of the non-interoperable systems the phone companies use.

As for the subways, they are paid for by local governments. You must have been in NYC or Boston, because those are old and decrepit systems. Washington DC, San Francisco, and Atlanta have very nice systems. I'm in Portland and we have a top-notch surface rail/streetcar system. Don't base your opinion of the entire country's commuter rail on one municipality.

Liberals (0)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074766)

Well, subways pretty much are only in large metropolitan cities, and have been run by liberals for the past 50 years, which explains why they are degraded. Money stolen from "the rich" and wasted lining the pockets of corrupt officials. Explains why you see the FLOOD of people with MONEY, are leaving the cities like NYC, and heading to Florida & Texas, where taxes are LOW.

Re:Liberals (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075086)

Yeah because only liberals like Bloomberg run large metropolitan cities. And liberals like Mitt Romney run states with cities with horrid subways like Boston.

Re:US cell system (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074824)

Why USAians don't demand better regulation is a mystery to me.

Regulation is a four-letter word over here. It "handcuffs job-creators" and "stifles industry", and no matter what national polls show, (almost) no elected officials fight this Big Lie.

Re:US cell system (2)

Oceanplexian (807998) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075116)

Sorry you had a bad experience, but the US is nearly as large as the entirety of Europe, so that's a terrible comparison considering that outside the metro areas cell service quality is pretty decent. Also, I don't see how the "US Subway System" (never heard of that one...) is in any way related to the discussion of mobile regulations.

The United States is a huge place, so picking out faults as a whole are pretty ignorant. If anything, I'd say regulations on spectrum use should be relaxed so more carriers can get in on the game.

Re:US cell system (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075258)

If anything, I'd say regulations on spectrum use should be relaxed so more carriers can get in on the game.

And who is going to pony up 100 billion dollars to just start up a new network from scratch? Apple? Exxon?

Ma Bell seeking to reduce competition?! (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073964)

No, say it isn't so! My reality is crashing down on me. I suddenly feel so disillusioned and jaded. I'm either going to go write emo poetry, or kill myself.

No, wait, that would just be a huge overreaction. Suicide it is, then.

Re:Ma Bell seeking to reduce competition?! (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075266)

No, wait, that would just be a huge overreaction. Suicide it is, then.

Can I have your UID then?

Capitalism at its best (4, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073972)

It's no new information because we knew it already.

Law of Capitalism #1: Customer value directly conflicts with corporate income. If more value goes to the consumer, less value will go to the corporation.

Mergers are never for the benefit of the consumer.

AT&T is willing to pay a huge premium simply to reduce competition and keep T-Mobile out of Sprint's hands

Law of Capitalism #2: Monopolies win.

But the problem isn't with our understanding of these laws. It's with the FCC not doing it's job, and everyone involved being paid off.

Re:Capitalism at its best (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074146)

All regulators are being captured. Captured regulators don't do their job. Problem is I think that the politicians WANT the regulators to be captured.

Re:Capitalism at its best (3, Informative)

immakiku (777365) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074240)

Law 1: not true. In a competitive market, the corporation that can give customers the most value will keep the most value for itself. What you say is only true in monopolistic and (sometimes) oligopolistic environments. In this case, however, the market is pretty much an oligopoly. That's why the government has to step in to determine if this merger is something that allows AT&T to compete better and provide more value to the customers or if it's something that will altogether transfer more value from customers to AT&T.

Re:Capitalism at its best (0)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074430)

In a competitive market, blah blah blah...

And in a unicorn playground mobile data is free free free!

You keep talking about capitalism as if it doesn't capture regulators and entrench monopolies. Look around. It is what it is.

Re:Capitalism at its best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074628)

And in a unicorn playground mobile data is free free free!
You keep talking about capitalism as if it doesn't capture regulators and entrench monopolies. Look around. It is what it is.

Well said.

That's why the government has to step in to determine if this merger is something that allows AT&T to compete better and provide more value to the customers or if it's something that will altogether transfer more value from customers to AT&T.

Anyone that was with Cingular when it became At&t (again) would realize that the only way to give the best value to At&t's customers would be to send them to Verizon, Sprint, or T-mobile. At&t is the fucking worst mobile company out there. If that we really their purpose they would stop taking money from At&t hand over fist and shut those fuckers down.

Re:Capitalism at its best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074618)

In a competitive market, the corporation that can give customers the most value will keep the most value for itself.

No. That corporation will be bankrupted by the corporation that cuts corners and skimps on service. It's the tried and true practice of building up a good brand with superior products and services, and then riding that horse as hard as you can until it drops dead. Rinse, lather repeat. Verizon's network used to be so awesome that after switching from AT&T in 2002 I always asked callers if they were still there because I couldn't hear any line noise. I never dropped calls and never got choppy reception. VZW has been on a pretty rapid descent as they invest in luring customers into the highly profitable wireless data market instead of investing in growing their voice network to keep up with demand. Now I drop calls all the time and have shitty audio. Verizon sucks now and so does everyone else. Cell service in the United State is abysmal.

Re:Capitalism at its best (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074954)

Word. I have observed that people are reluctant to leave their current carriers because of friends and family also being on that particular carrier. This form of lock-in was discovered to be a strong motivator long ago... which was about the time the race to the bottom started to occur in the competitive wireless market.

When you see there are reasons people don't want to change, you will see reasons they can be abused as they are.

Re:Capitalism at its best (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075074)

In a competitive market, the corporation that can give customers the most value will keep the most value for itself.

Right on cue!

This is the myth that fuels small to medium businesses, and the dreamers who still have any hope left.

Law #1 is true, and that is precisely why businesses that give the most value suffer through self-sacrifice and lower profits. While businesses are small, it is the moral stance of the founders and business operators that can counteract this law and increase customer satisfaction. It is at a price, but often those with a passion, and who are already happy with their compensation, such as the founders realizing their dreams, are happy to pay. This is great for consumers. But this is *not* capitalism at work. This is good will being applied to counteract the evil of capitalism at work.

Beyond a certain threshold however, the company starts to prioritize profits over all else. This is when moral baggage (founders) are let go of, and the quality of service falls to "the minimum quality required to sustain their business". This can happen before or after a company goes public, but almost always happens after mergers or take-overs. And unfortunately is only a matter of time...

Law of Capitalism #3: The quality of products, services, and compensation fall to their tolerable minimums, and prices rise to their tolerable maximums, as a corporation expands.

Re:Capitalism at its best (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074254)

US economic system != capitalism.

Capitalism isn't the government giving money to corporations at taxpayer expense.

With true capitalism monopolies can only exist if they serve the consumer better than any other competitor.

Re:Capitalism at its best (2)

Darby (84953) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074504)

Capitalism isn't the government giving money to corporations at taxpayer expense.

Sure it is. Whoever has the gold makes the rules. That is the golden rule of capitalism. Whoever owns the capital rules.

With true capitalism monopolies can only exist if they serve the consumer better than any other competitor

And by "true capitalism" you mean a fairy tale idealization which can't possibly exist in the real world. For those of us actually discussing the real world in which we all live you just come across as a naive child.

Re:Capitalism at its best (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074520)

With true capitalism monopolies can only exist if they serve the consumer better than any other competitor.

So ruthless, self-serving competition doesn't exist in true capitalism? Interesting!

If only we could have it. Darn reality!

Re:Capitalism at its best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074814)

With true capitalism monopolies can only exist if they serve the consumer better than any other competitor.

Utterly false. There's an old business adage that clearly outlines why: "Nothing succeeds like success". If I can be even a small bit more profitable than my competitors, I can use that extra capital to leverage better prices from suppliers and advertisers, to lobby governments to create laws that favor me over competitors and otherwise ensure that life is just a little bit better for me and mine. Having employed these advantages, I can use them as leverage to repeat the cycle in a positive feedback loop until I achieve monopoly status and either absorb or destroy my once-Free market.

Nowhere in that process does it say that you have to obtain that edge from happy customers. More power to you if you do! But as long as you don't sabotage the process by making them sufficiently happy to negate the positive feedback effects, building the require capital can come from outsourcing customer support to a country where a $1 lunch is a gourmet meal instead of a bowl of unflavored Ramen, cutting expenses by polluting the environment, exploiting child labor - anything that ups the profit margin is grist for the mill.

Re:Capitalism at its best (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075202)

US economic system != capitalism.

I really wish this statement were true to everyone's eyes, and we could just admit it. Unfortunately, to many run this code:

function USA(){
    capitasim;
}

if (USA != capitalism)
    then USA = socialism;

Those who cannot see the code at work for what it really is cannot fix it. But thank Gov for free speech, because we all get to spew bullshit about it all day regardless of how anything is actually implemented.

Re:Capitalism at its best (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074424)

In fairness, sometimes it's win/win/win (acquiror/acquisition/consumer) when a company with a nicely developed sales channel buys up a little invention and puts some wood behind the arrow.

I used to work for a major heavy equipment manufacturer and scout around looking for neat inventions to put on our products. One was a patent by a nice dude with a high school degree that was totally awesome. We picked it up from him, made him a boatload of cash, and threw our engineering resources behind it and got it into the GLOBAL market in less than a year.

Everyone got more out of it than they put in, and the customers loved it. I guarantee if a big company hadn't bought it, the dude would still be moving like 5 units a month via mail order.

He who creates the most value for the customer (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074636)

gets the most business. He who gets the most business makes good profit.

He who supplies poor value to the customer ends up not having customers.

That is usually unless some external force, such as a government, interferes. The AT&T monopoly was created by the government. Even when monopolies do develop naturally, they don't last. Standard Oil was already starting to crumble before the forced breakup (and it had done some good for the consumer, vastly lowering the cost of oil products through various efficiencies).

Capitalism is not a zero-sum game. One person getting a bigger piece of the pie does not necessarily mean every one else gets a smaller piece. The pie can grow.

This may result... (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073980)

...in the paralegal getting an "involuntary career path adjustment". But I doubt much will come of this. The only way anything significant will happen is if someone in congress latches on and runs with it. But that will only happen if they're from the district of a competitor and can count on their "support" in the upcoming election.

Would Sprint buy T-Mobile? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073984)

Sprint had (has?) a substantial problem when they bought Nextel, since it meant that they had to maintain two incompatible networks: CDMA and IDEN. Now they're going to buy a GSM carrier too? Seems silly.

Re:Would Sprint buy T-Mobile? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074102)

Just means you slowly phase one out. If AT&T buys T-Mobile they will be phasing out all the T-Mobile G3 phones (or force them onto 2G edge) so why wouldn't Sprint do something similar?

Re:Would Sprint buy T-Mobile? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074124)

A link in TFA has a fascinating datapoint... Sprint is going to deploy LTE also. This now means all of the big players in the US are moving toward LTE.

Re:Would Sprint buy T-Mobile? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074532)

That's because iDEN's biggest feature, push to talk, never quite worked right on the CDMA network. they couldn't get people to switch.

Re:Would Sprint buy T-Mobile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074792)

"Has" is definitely right, and it's not just the network. I have been a Sprint IT contractor in the last five years, and they are still for the most part two separate companies internally. It's amazing that anything actually gets done in there. We spent most of the time praying "the other half" wouldn't have to get involved in our project, because that was basically an assurance of endless conference calls between Reston and Kansas City, followed by epic failure.

The best thing AT&T could have done would have been to just let Sprint buy T-Mobile -- both companies would have collapsed within a few years.

Anyone have this document? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37073990)

Reference is made to it, but where is it? I'd like to see it... anything that can prevent the T-Mobile buyout would be welcome news for me. I am a T-Mobile customer because they are the best for service and AT&T and Verizon are both evil as hell. Sprint burned their bridge with me as a previously long-term customer when they created a atmosphere where you had to threaten to leave their service in order to get what I needed. And before long, they started disconnecting "troublesome customers" to reduce their support call burden... I did not wait for them to disconnect me -- I just left for T-Mobile and never looked back.

Yes! (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074018)

As a happy T-Mobile customer let me just say, woohoo!!!!!

Even if T-Mobile ends up not being able to survive on their own, i'd be happier getting subsumed into Sprint or Verizon. They certainly couldn't be any worse than AT&T. Not to mention that aside from all the other issues i have with AT&T, as someone who is also an Android owner i'm very happy with what T-Mobile has been doing with the platform. AT&T seems to be the company least likely to carry on in that spirit after acquiring T-Mobile.

Re:Yes! (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074384)

AT&T seems to be the company least likely to carry on in that spirit after acquiring T-Mobile.

from a (my) German perspective the whole issue is incredible funny.

here in Germany Deutsche Telekom (with subsidiaries like T-Mobile) is the 800-pound gorilla in telecommunication, formerly a public company, owner of most landlines, slow, bureaucratic, ... you name it. to see this shitty shop mentioned as a agile and innovative provider seems ridiculous to me. Is AT&T owner of branches in other countries? It would be interesting to know if Ma Bell is similar flexible outside the ancestral domestic market.

I'm a TMo Customer... (5, Interesting)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074090)

...and this merger won't be good for me. I went to my local public dialog forum here in San Diego, and found quite a few others like me. Yet, we weren't able to talk because AT&T had lined up minority group after minority group after interest group after volunteer group talking about how "good AT&T is for the community." I shit you not, one lady even came up and spoke for her whole two minutes about how her pregnant 14-year old daughter wouldn't be able to function without this merger.

The sad thing? Almost every person who stood up disclosed that they had received grants, money or deals from AT&T. Two hours later, I walked of the forum disgusted. I've been an ATT customer before, and I don't want to be again, and people must agree with me, because 50k people jumped ship from T-Mobile last quarter.

I'm bummed because T-Mobile has historically been a great company to work with. Any company that rings you up to make you aware of and retroactively pay for an overcharge is okay in my book. For some reason, I couldn't see ATT doing that kind of thing. Oh well, at least I'll be able to jump ship to Sprint when ATT officially acquires T-Mobile. I don't trust the FCC or the FTC to lift a finger to stop this merger.

Re:I'm a TMo Customer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37074252)

I'm also a T-Mobile customer and I know both me and all of my friends with TMO will be going to Sprint the moment this merger hits. It means we have to buy new phones but me and my friends have all had AT&T wireless in the past and pretty much refuse to subject ourselves to them again.

The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile would probably be the best thing to ever happen to Sprint.

Re:I'm a TMo Customer... (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074262)

I first had Cingular Wireless and they were great.... then they got soaked up by ATT and boy was it horrible. Dropped calls everywhere.

Eventually switched to verizon after all of that shit. I have been with Verizon for over 3 years now and have yet to get a dropped call.

I just wanted to get away from GSM in general and switch to CDMA over the voice clarity.

But with Verizon wanting to cap data limits (i'm grandfathered in for unlimited, but not sure for how long)... I don't know who to go with...

Re:I'm a TMo Customer... (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075046)

Check your facts: Cingular bought ATT and then changed their name to ATT to try and get some of the goodwill that ATT Wireless had. Only problem is they proceeded to implement all of the old Cingular lack of support and draconian rules.

Case in point: I was an ATT custormer on their old network before GSM. Cingular wanted everyone to move to GSM so they could shut down the old network, makes sense right. But they wanted to charge me $36 per line to go to the new network, charge me so they could save money by shutting down the old network and because they would "give" me a new phone they expected to be able to extend my contract. I said hell no. Every six months I would get a Cingular (now ATT) call to move to the new network. 2 years later I moved when they dropped the line charge and gave me a phone without a new contract (Win for me and Win for Cingular).

Good ATT Wireless, as a business customer I could get a refurb phone every six months for twenty bucks. The refurbs were just phones returned by customers that cancelled during the 30 day grace period. No contract extension required. Think the New Cingular/ATT did that. Hell no.

Re:I'm a TMo Customer... (1)

scragz (654271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074356)

I'm a T-Mobile customer and the behind-the-scenes changes are already happening and affecting me. A few months ago they discontinued the pseudo prepay plan I was on and made me pay a deposit. This month I had a bunch of dumb stuff happen that required a lot more minutes than I normally use. I called them to see about ordering more and their brand new policy is that you have to sign up for a new two-year contract just to add minutes to your plan for the month or you get charged $.49/minute (!!!) if you go over. The entire reason I went with T-Mobile was so I could own my own phone and not enter into any contracts with these evil mobile phone providers!

Re:I'm a TMo Customer... (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075278)

If they keep changing the contract terms, you should be able to opt out without penalty.

Re:I'm a TMo Customer... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074372)

Current T-mo customer here as well. I hopped on with T-Mo when I bought my N900 (love it!), and have really loved interacting with the company since. When I heard about the T-mo merger with AT&T I started having flashbacks to when Cingular got bought by AT&T and my optimism died a little bit more that day.

Anyways, since I value having a GSM phone far more than I do most other items when picking a cell service, I still want to stay with a company that allows me to use sim cards in unlocked phones rather than jumping ship to Sprint. That said, I think in the next month or so, I am going to buy a Simple Mobile [mysimplemobile.com] sim card at a local gas station or something and try out their service. I know they run on T-Mobile's towers, but I will take some comfort in knowing that not all of my money is going over to AT&T post merger. If I find the service to be decent, I'll probably transfer my T-Mo number over to Simple mobile permanently and kiss T-Mo goodbye.

Simple Mobile is relatively unknown, so far as I can tell. You might want to try something similar as well before jumping ship to the CDMA networks.

Likewise a TMo Customer with N900 (1)

KWTm (808824) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074506)

Agree. Got on TMo to get good service with phones that take a SIM card. (I still don't get phones with no SIM card --what do you people do when you travel? Buy and learn to reconfigure a new phone just because you're in Japan/France/Ecuador for 2 weeks? Keep your non-functioning phone and disappear from civilization?) TMo had no problem with me bringing my unsupported unlocked Treo onto the TMo network, and now I similarly have a N900 which does what I want, as opposed to what the phone's corporate master wants (thank goodness, since Nokia clearly has no idea what N900 owners want).

Here's hoping the deal doesn't go through, or at least that AT&T chokes and crumbles into little customer-oriented pieces.

And, the rest of the phone companies, can you sort of take a look around and realize that global compatibility and SIM card use is a good thing? Thanks.

Re:Likewise a TMo Customer with N900 (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074932)

-what do you people do when you travel

Simple - I have an el-cheapo Nokia I use :).

Also - if you know you are going to travel a lot there are CDMA phones that support both CDMA and GSM.

Deal will still probably go through (2)

Immerial (1093103) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074196)

It's funny, I read some where AT&T had announced that they predicted that they would have to divest $8 billion in various stuff to make the deal go through. The funny part is that I read it as "we need $8 billion to buy off the politicians for the deal to go through".

Re:Deal will still probably go through (3, Interesting)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074482)

The story pretty much says the same thing.
AT&T has said that it will cost them $39 Billion to buy TMobile. It has also claimed to investors that it will save them $10Billion.
The justification is that it will enlarge Wireless coverage in USA.
The leak now claims that the expanded network coverage will cost only $3.8 Billion http://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2011/08/unredacted-ATT-filing-shows-high-price-tag/ [wirelessweek.com]
So AT&T Pays $39 Billion, saves $3.8 Bilion in network costs and $6.2 Billion in non-network costs (say closing and selling stores/laying off duplicated jobs). Assume that Sprint is worth the same as TMobile intrinscially - which is approx. $10B. The remaining $19 Billion premium paid must then be the cost of eliminating competition or the cost of keeping sprint from expanding.

Re:Deal will still probably go through (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37075362)

The justification is that it will enlarge Wireless coverage in USA.

Enlarge AT&T's wireless coverage, that is. They won't be adding one stinkin' cell site when they buy T-Mobile. That's existing coverage. If they wanted better coverage for their customers, they'd create a low cost roaming agreement with T-Mobile and leave the respective systems alone.

The remaining $19 Billion premium paid must then be the cost of eliminating competition or the cost of keeping sprint from expanding.

Bingo! Give that man a cigar (of the non-exploding variety).

Re:Deal will still probably go through (1)

skr95062 (2046934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074888)

The funny part is that I read it as "we need $8 billion to buy off the politicians for the deal to go through".

Didn't you mean to say "We need $8 billion to buy off the politicians we don't already own for the deal to go through."?

They already own enough politicians for the deal to go through, they just want to make sure the ones they don't own stay out of the way.

I have known since the merger was announced that AT&T was blowing smoke up the FCC's ass. One less competitor, one step closer to total domination. AT&T along with Verizon will watch as Sprint dies a long slow painful death and then they both can really begin to screw the consumer. Not like they both don't already but it will be much worse when they are the only game in town.

As Lilly Tomlin put it a long time ago "Sir we are the phone company. We don't have to care." Sad part is it is just as true today as it was back then.

This really needs to be on Drudge. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37074516)

Just sayin'.

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