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AT&T Issues Scathing Response To FCC Report

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-strongly-disagree dept.

AT&T 215

An anonymous reader writes "AT&T has issued a scathing letter in response to the FCC's decision to release a staff report on its findings surrounding AT&T's planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. 'We expected that the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction would receive careful, considered, and fair analysis,' Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, said. 'Unfortunately, the preliminary FCC Staff Analysis offers none of that.'"

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215 comments

Unimpressive. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233628)

I'm pretty sure that AT&T's response is simply a toddler's temper tantrum with a midlife crisis and an expensive suit.

Re:Unimpressive. (5, Funny)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233662)

Yeah they can use that $39B to pay for a gigantic waaaaahmbulance.

Re:Unimpressive. (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233870)

I believe the proper internet forums response is that AT&T be trollin.

Re:Unimpressive. (0)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234158)

We see them trollin' / we be hatin'

Re:Unimpressive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234356)

patrollin' and tryin to catch em' anti-trustin'

Re:Unimpressive. (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234760)

The FCC has no comment regarding hatred, but wishes it to be known that, by authority duly granted by Congress, they be Regulatin' Word.

Re:Unimpressive. (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234118)

Personified they'd buy themselves a Porsche or M3, then lay off a few more people because they can, by day.

Then after work, they'd put on their dickhead helmet with their neon spandex and erratically ride carbon-fiber bicycles in the middle of every automotive turn lane they come across.

Fuck you momma, I didn't wanted those cookies anyway. *slumps flat on butt in the middle of sidewalk, kicks feet*

Re:Unimpressive. (5, Interesting)

surgen (1145449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234628)

You took the words from my mouth, the last few days the only impression I've been getting from AT&T is one of a crybaby.

My favorite part of TFA was Sprint's comment, they're basically using fancy words to point and laugh.

Newsflash! (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233632)

AT&T is not the United Nations. And even if they were, a firmly worded letter is getting them nowhere here.

Re:Newsflash! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233664)

Hell, even the UN's firmly worded letter get's them nowhere :|

Re:Newsflash! (5, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233974)

Of course not.

The firmly worded letter is for appearances.

The bribed senators and congressmen are the ones that will actually move things for them.

Re:Newsflash! (3, Insightful)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234046)

The Executive Department offers an alternative that reduces the number of palms that must greased in order to achieve one's ends.

say it often enough, it starts to sound true (5, Insightful)

lambent (234167) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233642)

at this point, i wonder if AT&T has actually bought its own story, or if they have to practice keeping a straight face in the mirror every morning.

Two megers away from "The" Cell Phone Company (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233646)

AT&T buying T-Mobile is a bad thing for consumers. The original cell phone plan was that there would be two providers, the local Ma Bell and a start-up. AT&T as SBC bought up the East Coast start-ups, Verizon bought the West Coast ones, and T-Mobile and Sprint came to the party as national big-city carriers on at the time open space adjustments.

AT&T of the 1980s was busted up as a monopoly. If AT&T is allowed to have T-Mobile, what's stopping Verizon and Sprint from joining up? Less competitors always leads to higher prices. Anybody remember what cellphones cost in the early 1990s?

Re:Two megers away from "The" Cell Phone Company (5, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234040)

AT&T of the 1980s was busted up as a monopoly. If AT&T is allowed to have T-Mobile, what's stopping Verizon and Sprint from joining up? Less competitors always leads to higher prices. Anybody remember what cellphones cost in the early 1990s?

Look, I'm not going to argue that we shouldn't prevent a cell phone service monopoly, but using the cost of cellphones in the early 1990s as an argument against it isn't even remotely valid.

Computers cost upwards of $2k for a typical desktop in the early 1990s and there were *way* more PC manufacturers back then (remember Computer Shopper magazine?). One could just as easily say "More competitors lead to higher prices. Anybody remember what PCs cost in the early 1990s?" and be equally wrong.

--Jeremy

Re:Two megers away from "The" Cell Phone Company (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234440)

Oh? Say you pay $70/month for your phone. 2 year contract. $200 phone. That's $1880.00.
Oh, you have more phones and lines...

Re:Two megers away from "The" Cell Phone Company (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234462)

One of the biggest problems with the old ATT was the lack of innovation. They would throw the occasional video-phone demo out there, but they were intent to push ISDN as their home high bandwidth solution and ultra-pricey T-1 lines as their business option. We would not have as many high bandwidth options before us (cable at home and leased fiber at work) if it had not been for the break-up of the monopoly and the introduction of a spate of DSL and cable providers

ATT has mass, inertia and $26B to burn, but a telcom world dominated by them offers us fewer options

as far as the falling prices of various electronic gee-gaws, I think that it has more to do with market saturation and innovation of new features than anything else

AT&T didn't offer home ISDN (4, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234790)

The old AT&T was broken up before ISDN to homes came along. It was the "baby bells" offering you ISDN. Although in my area I had DSL in 1996 or 7, I can't remember which. From a baby bell (Pac Bell).

Uhmmmmmmmm...... (4, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234680)

The argument that monopolies raise the price of cell phone service is well-supported.

Cell phone service voice and data plans are extraordinarily high in the U.S., Japan and Canada, compared to other nations. America is way above the international average. We're the most expensive when it comes to texting. For the whole package of cell phone service America and Canada are the most expensive. Guess which countries keeps coming up as among the most expensive? The U.S. and Canada.

http://newamerica.net/publications/policy/an_international_comparison_of_cell_phone_plans_and_prices [newamerica.net]

As for PC prices, the number of competitors had very little effect compared to the power of Moore's Law. Had we had more competitors, PC prices might be 25% less right now. A huge part of what we pay for PCs is Windows. If we had more competition there we certainly would see lower prices.

So yes, oligopolies mean higher prices. And Jesus WAS/is in fact a liberal. :D

Make sure to read the bottom of the page (5, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233654)

For Sprint's short and sweet response, compared to ATT's long-winded vague casting of aspersions against the FCC staff.

The FCC staff’s Analysis and Findings provide a careful, substantive analysis of AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile, consistent with the FCC’s role as the independent, expert agency responsible for such merger reviews. Rather than accept the expert agency’s Analysis and Findings, AT&T has chosen to make baseless claims about the FCC’s process. [...]

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (5, Insightful)

DiabolicallyRandom (2449482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233772)

Lol - I just love this whole thing. ATT is like the giant internet forum troll, throwing a temper tantrum because they got banned from the forums, and sprint is like the even keeled bystander, explaining to the banned individual why trolling is wrong.

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (0)

CtownNighrider (1443513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233796)

If I had mod points you would have them

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (1, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234108)

I disagree. I'm no lover of AT&T, I got screwed by them once on international calls and had to fight for a couple of months to get my money back. This was at a time when money was in really short supply, and the $500 or so that I had to get back would have made a big difference. If you actually read FCC's Analysis, and look at what AT&T disagrees with, you can't but agree with AT&T. Their rebuttal is backed by facts, and an hour of googling later you will see for yourself that they are certainly right in the issues they have enumerated. I would have personally really wanted AT&T's response to turn out to be made up shitty troll, but it turns out not to be so.

Sprint's "short and sweet" response turns out to be completely unfounded. It essentially translates to "yeah, yeah, we don't like AT&T either, kudos to FCC for sharing in our dislike". FCC did a pathetic job in their Analysis, that's all there's to it.

Calling AT&T's response "scathing" is uncalled for. We have a saying in Polish: the truth stings you in the eyes. As far as I'm concerned, the submitter takes "factual" for "scathing". It's silly. People often take a defensive stance when presented with facts that clearly contradict whatever they previously claimed, so I can at least understand the psychology in the mostly negative reaction to AT&T's rebuke to FCC. What I don't get is why people side with FCC without spending the time necessary to verify the sources. It only takes a couple of hours.

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234246)

The main problem I see with what you say is this: very few people believed the AT&T-T-Mobile merger was a good thing before the Analysis. I only skimmed it briefly, but it seemed to approach the issue from the point of view that the onus is on AT&T to show that the merger is in the public interest, and not just AT&Ts (which they seem to grant.)

The "commitments" of a company with AT&T's history are worth less to me then the photons my screen used to display them to me. It should come as no surprise that the report is unbalanced: the truth is this merger is a bad idea, at many levels. If AT&T wants it to go through, they basically need to show that both companies absolutely needed it. The report seems to say they didn't show that, but only made broad claims.

In other words, the FCC is calling AT&T liars, and I agree. AT&T doesn't like that, and their response is laden with innuendo and falsities. For example, "The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece..." So if you don't agree with AT&T's interpretation, you clearly aren't "fair minded." Yeah, that sort of language is only going to make me like you even less. If they really have valid points, fine. But even if they do, using that language is going to make me discard it as manipulative marketing.

Add in the fact that AT&T tried to withdraw the merger application so the report wouldn't be made public, and it really is a poor showing overall for AT&T.

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (1, Interesting)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234338)

the truth is this merger is a bad idea, at many levels.

If this is true, why did the FCC feel the need to (in AT&T's opinion, and I agree) make shit up to show that it was a bad idea? If it was, in fact, a bad idea the evidence supporting this should have been pretty easy to find.

Of course it's a good thing (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234496)

I was really worried that we were going to run out of 'T's.

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (5, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234294)

I disagree. I'm no lover of AT&T, I got screwed by them once on international calls and had to fight for a couple of months to get my money back. This was at a time when money was in really short supply, and the $500 or so that I had to get back would have made a big difference. If you actually read FCC's Analysis, and look at what AT&T disagrees with, you can't but agree with AT&T. Their rebuttal is backed by facts, and an hour of googling later you will see for yourself that they are certainly right in the issues they have enumerated. I would have personally really wanted AT&T's response to turn out to be made up shitty troll, but it turns out not to be so.

Sprint's "short and sweet" response turns out to be completely unfounded. It essentially translates to "yeah, yeah, we don't like AT&T either, kudos to FCC for sharing in our dislike". FCC did a pathetic job in their Analysis, that's all there's to it.

Calling AT&T's response "scathing" is uncalled for. We have a saying in Polish: the truth stings you in the eyes. As far as I'm concerned, the submitter takes "factual" for "scathing". It's silly. People often take a defensive stance when presented with facts that clearly contradict whatever they previously claimed, so I can at least understand the psychology in the mostly negative reaction to AT&T's rebuke to FCC. What I don't get is why people side with FCC without spending the time necessary to verify the sources. It only takes a couple of hours.

It sounds like you only read the rebuttal and didn't consider the context. In this case the context is reality. The assertions AT&T makes and the way they try to cherry pick their issues just don't jive with reality. Even if they can factually tell us that they'll create N jobs in the U.S., that doesn't mean it's a good thing when independent analysis done months ago (and common sense) concluded that in addition to creating those N jobs they'll be eliminating 3N jobs.

Re:Make sure to read the bottom of the page (5, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233832)

You forgot the, IMO, best part:

We agree with AT&T on one point however: the public should read the Analysis and Findings on AT&T’s proposed takeover.

Money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233682)

ATT dumps a ton of money on the GOP. They will get whatever they want after the next election.

Re:Money (5, Informative)

ProfM (91314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233756)

Yeah right.

Open Secrets classifies the corporation as a fence sitter when it comes to politics, although during the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama was clearly the telco's favorite.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/ATT-Top-Campaign-Contributor-Since-1990-110351 [dslreports.com]

Re:Money (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233762)

I guess giving quite a bit to Obama [opensecrets.org] didn't help them out... makes sense to change sides.

Re:Money (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234006)

Bribes don't work anymore if they don't believe you'll stop. Both sides get lots of corporate money from all sides. The corporations will fund both parties, hoping for favor. Until the parties punish those who fund the opposition, forcing single-party donations (which they'll never do), the practice will continue. The only point in question is do they fund who they want to win more, or the one they hope won't win in an attempt to curry favor?

Another thing Grandma used to say (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234144)

The difference between a politician and an honest politician is that an honest politician stays bought.

Re:Another thing Grandma used to say (3, Funny)

Greystripe (1985692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234230)

I thought it was that you could find a politician

Re:Another thing Grandma used to say (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234236)

The difference between a politician and an honest politician is that an honest politician doesn't exist.

FTFY

Re:Another thing Grandma used to say (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234304)

That wasn't Grandma, that was Robert Heinlein.

Re:Another thing Grandma used to say (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234682)

No, it was Grandma. The R.A.H. quote you're looking for though is:

“He's an honest politician--he stays bought.” Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Honest mistake. Very similar. Grandma didn't have his way with words, but she was good.

Re:Money (4, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234344)

One interesting thing to look at is the percentage of an individual politician's money that comes from small donors. Contrary to what some would expect, it doesn't split by party lines (nor by candidate sanity). Instead it gives you a good, non-partisan view of just how beholden a politician is to their corporate donors. Because while the corporations may always give lots of money to both sides, if (for example) Generic Democrat #1 pisses them off, they'll just stop giving to him, and give to Generic Democrat #2 instead. Assuming Generic Democrat #1 wants to keep his job, he either needs to play nice with the big donors, or bring in lots of small ones.

Obama, Ron Paul, Gingrich, and Bachman (I told you sanity didn't matter) all get around 50% of their money from small donors. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney get 90+% of their money from major corporations and billionaires. That should tell you all you need to know about those two.

Huntsman is also in the 90+% camp, but in his case it might just be lack of name recognition. This method really only works for the big names, since the small players have trouble reaching out to individual donors through no fault of their own.

Re:Money (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234054)

They give money to both parties, but I do see it being more likely under GOP rule. The only thing they like more than deregulation is privatisation.

Maybe they can use other Room 641A-esque things as leverage.

So, who else might buy T-Mobile? (4, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233698)

Imagine if Apple bought T-Mobile, then refused to sell their phones through any other service provider?

Terrible idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233742)

Yes because locking yourself out of potential vast amounts of profit is what Apple prefers to do right?

Re:Terrible idea... (5, Interesting)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233846)

That's kinda what they did when they went AT&T exclusive at the start.. there's a whole big argument to be made regarding what would've happened with iOS vs. Android had Verizon not been left out of the iPhone sales fest early on and decided to retaliate with pushing and marketing the Droid the way they did.

Re:Terrible idea... (5, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233904)

On the other hand, it's possible that Android would never have been able to make it to market without Apple first muscling their way into the game the way they did. One of the benefits they got by going exclusive was that they were allowed a lot more control over their hardware and what could be installed on it than any other phone manufacturer was. You could make an argument that the smartphone market wouldn't be as big as it was without Apple showing what was possible.

Hard to tell. It's all guesswork at this point.

Re:So, who else might buy T-Mobile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234032)

T mobile is dead. Period. Let the sell off of assets proceed.

Re:So, who else might buy T-Mobile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234074)

That's highly illegal in the US. Handset manufacturers aren't allowed to own carriers, and vice versa.

Personally, I'd like to see either Telefónica or Shaw buy T-Mo.

Poor AT&T (4, Funny)

0101000001001010 (466440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233776)

Ohhhh, poor AT&T. Your regulator has some teeth and is preserving the bit of competition that still exists in wireless? We all feel so very very bad for you.

Expectations. (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233804)

AT&T has issued a scathing letter in response ... 'We expected that the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction would receive careful, considered, and fair analysis,' ... 'Unfortunately, the preliminary FCC Staff Analysis offers none of that.'

Since things didn't go their way, did anyone really expect a different response from AT&T? Can you imagine this?

AT&T: What were we thinking! <foreheadsmack> It's obvious now that we're wankers.
We commend the FCC for their insightful analysis; well done and thank you for your efforts.

Re:Expectations. (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233920)

No, but I can imagine silence. Or a one-sentence 'we respectfully disagree'.

Re:Expectations. (-1, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234174)

Just because Slashdot nerds have the (utterly unreasonable) expectation that they are so right that everyone else should shut up doesn't mean that the rest of the world is under any obligation to follow along.

Re:Expectations. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234270)

One could also argue that it's a bad idea to have a public tantrum aimed at regulators who will almost certainly be judging your *next* deal.

Re:Expectations. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234398)

Don't expect that. AT&T needs to explain to shareholders why an enormously expensive operation didn't work. Vilifying the government regulatory board is a much better strategy.

I'm quite serious. Look at who people elect. Generally we elect assholes, not respectful, thoughtful people.

Re:Expectations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233934)

Or what if the deal had been approved, but without proper evaluation. AT&T is bitching about not receiving fair consideration, so that grievance would still stand, right? right??

Re:Expectations. (2)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234112)

Since things didn't go their way, did anyone really expect a different response from AT&T?

Did I expect them to suddenly agree? No. Did I expect them to disagree in a way that wouldn't antagonize the FCC? Yes. And it's gotten noticed already, as Ars Technica's article [arstechnica.com] points out in an update:

The FCC doesn't appear to be very happy about AT&T's comments. In a comment made via the FCC's Twitter feed, Joel Guerin, the chief of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau said he was deeply concerned about AT&T's response to the release of the report.

This is likely to cause AT&T trouble down the line. Pissing off the officials who oversee your business is never a good move. Congress is unlikely to be impressed either.

Re:Expectations. (-1, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234248)

Why the fuck does the FCC have a twitter?

...and this is the organization you fuckers want to head network neutrality?

Re:Expectations. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234518)

Precisely why shouldn't they have a twitter feed? By that logic they probably shouldn't have a website or phone number either.

Bad news for the country (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234590)

This is likely to cause AT&T trouble down the line. Pissing off the officials who oversee your business is never a good move.

Having utterly unaccountable people everyone has to toady to is an even worse move, for the people of the U.S.

With every year the FCC grows more intolerable.

Shouldn't have expected once (-1, Flamebait)

amightywind (691887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233822)

AT&T shouldn't have expected much from Obama's screaming Bolsheviks. They hate business.

Re:Shouldn't have expected once (3, Insightful)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233842)

I'd love to see just one video of "Obama's screaming Bolsheviks." Can you provide one? Please include a historic screaming Bolshevik video for comparison. I bet the Russians are just darling in those little furry hats.

Re:Shouldn't have expected once (0)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233908)

Any video from Barney Frank or Maxine Waters. They were basically screaming Bolsheviks for years, and now they're aligned with Obama, so calling them "Obama's screaming Bolsheviks" isn't a stretch at all.

Re:Shouldn't have expected once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234124)

Any video from Barney Frank or Maxine Waters. They were basically screaming Bolsheviks for years, and now they're aligned with Obama, so calling them "Obama's screaming Bolsheviks" isn't a stretch at all.

If you look at it from the right angle you can get anything to align.

Re:Shouldn't have expected once (4, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233918)

AT&T hates business, since business means competition.

Re:Shouldn't have expected once (3, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234078)

This is awesome. A few posts ago I got to read about how Obama is pro-AT&T and pro big business because they gave him so much money during the '08 campaign.

Could you dipshits make up your minds and at least keep your rhetoric consistent?

--Jeremy

Re:Shouldn't have expected once (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234530)

Won't somebody please think of the children?

That's a rude response (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233834)

They should break that company up again, it seems the first time wasn't enough to curb their arrogance.

Re:That's a rude response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234024)

Damn straight, wish I had mod points for you.

Re:That's a rude response (2)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234126)

The proceedings would take too long, and before it would be finished we'd have a Republican in the White House again.

Re:That's a rude response (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234152)

They should break that company up again, it seems the first time wasn't enough to curb their arrogance.

While I agree that AT&T should be broken up, the "again" part isn't really correct. The company that now calls itself AT&T isn't really the same company as the one that was broken up.

Re:That's a rude response (3, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234332)

The company that now calls itself AT&T isn't really the same company as the one that was broken up.

Considering that the AT&T which remained after the original breakup was bought out (largely for the name) by one of the Baby Bells, and that's the AT&T we have now, I'm not sure how much difference there really is. The old Ma Bell culture stayed alive and well throughout. Monoplies like Standard Oil and the original AT&T are like goddamn T-1000s: break them up all you want, they'll just reassemble and keep coming after you.

Re:That's a rude response (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234542)

Better yet, appoint Arnold to be the CEO. He can do to AT&T what he did to California.

Re:That's a rude response (5, Interesting)

TexVex (669445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234310)

I had been using smartphones for over four years, until just recently. I had an iPhone for two years, and before that I used a Pocket PC that could do everything an iPhone could do except it didn't have such a slick interface. All that time, I had a basic voice package and a decent data plan.

Recently (tough economic times and all) I decided to really have a look at what I was paying for and what I was getting. I found out that more of my "rollover minutes" simply decayed after non-use than I ever actually used. I never used more than 20% of my "evening and weekend" minutes. I never used more than 10% of my Internet bandwidth cap.

Basically, I was paying $85 or so per month and letting most of the value of it go to waste.

So, I switched to pre-paid TracFone. I bought a decent Motorola that has a touchscreen and a decent collection of features. I lost GPS navigation, but that's ok because I have a GPS in my car now. Other than that, I can still talk, text, browse, play games, and anything else I could do before.

The phone came with a "triple minutes for life" deal. Basically, that means that so long as I use that same phone, I buy my pre-paid minutes at $0.047. If I browse the Web, it charges me for the time in minutes, instead of metering my bandwidth. Text messages are about 1.5 cents apiece to send and receive.

And all of it goes over AT&T's network. I have the same service provider as before. Same signal quality. Same Internet bandwidth.

Another thing I did was invest $30 in a decent headset for my computer. When I'm at home, I now use Google Voice to make outgoing phone calls. I get great sound quality and don't pay a penny for it. These are my new "evening and weekend" minutes...

I paid $90 for the phone, and I charged it up with a little under 1300 minutes at a price of $60. That was 2.5 months ago. I still have 430 minutes remaining. That basically means I'm using my phone for a hair under $16.50 per month now. That's a savings of about $70 per month. The cheaper service has already paid for the phone. Anybody want to buy a used iPhone 3GS?

If you use the hell out of your smartphone, you might be getting your money's worth. But if you're a more "casual" smartphone user, then you're getting seriously ripped off.

Re:That's a rude response (2)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234554)

Text messages are about 1.5 cents apiece to send and receive.

..and that's still a rip-off. Consider:

Basically, that means that so long as I use that same phone, I buy my pre-paid minutes at $0.047. If I browse the Web, it charges me for the time in minutes, instead of metering my bandwidth.

1 minute of voice with a data rate of ~4kbps is about 512 bytes. The largest text messages are about 1/2 of that with overhead. So, one minute equivalence of text messages, 120 messages, you pay $0.047 for voice, and $1.80 for text messages, around 4000% more.

That doesn't even touch on the fact that voice has a MUCH higher QoS requirement (at a premium for quality) than a text message.

Text messaging is nothing but a sacred cash cow for the telcos. I refuse to use it.

Re:That's a rude response (1)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234592)

Sorry, that should read 512 bytes per second, or 30,720 bytes per minute, which is 7200 text messages, or $108.00 compared with $0.047 for the same amount of voice data, about 23,000% more.

Such a bargain, eh?

Re:That's a rude response (1)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234610)

Man, I am having trouble with math tonight.. the 120 message figure was right. :P

overcorrections :P

AT&T stock (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233850)

I own AT&T stock. The FCC decision is costing me money. My Lord, but I hate Obama!

Re:AT&T stock (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233928)

The FCC's directive is not to ensure the value of your stock. The FCC asked AT&T why the merger was good for consumers and AT&T wasn't able to provide a reasonable one. You know why? Because there wasn't one. So the FCC decided that they could not support the merger.

Re:AT&T stock (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233950)

It'll be back up soon enough.

Besides, you could have sold a couple of months ago when it became pretty clear what the result was going to be. And this decision is likely to save you more money, if you carry your own cellphone. (As oligopolies aren't known for keeping prices low.)

AT&T spending money they need (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233854)

AT&T can use that money to upgrade and expand their broadband circuits. I'm in south Texas and AT&T openly admits that our lines are over subscribed. Every Tech sent to check low signal strength has confessed to over subscription. Well use that money to improve the service they are collecting for and not providing!!

translation: (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233884)

ATT: "We didn't get our request rubber stamped like we expected it to be after we spent all that money to get the current crop of legislators and executives elected. We spend money on campaign contributions for a reason people! The FCC's review of our proposed acquisition of T-Mobile totally neglects to take these facts into account, and instead harps on things like abusive monopoly paractices and leaked memos from our executives. Obviously the FCC is not doing its job as a captured regulator, and we are voicing our displeasure publicly so as not to oust our purchased politicians. We fully expect them take action against this FCC ruling, and further insist that they take the DoJ to task on the pending antitrust case, if they want any more of our money; we understand that elections are just around the corner. Just a reminder guys. We don't get what we want, you don't get what you want."

Sprint: "We applaud the FCC for finally doing what it was really supposed to do, and appreciate its dedication to fact finding and for ensuring a balanced economic foundation for the telecom industry. We strong urge everyone to read the FCC's report."

Re:translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234048)

Sprint: "We'll never be able to sell Nextel, so there's never any chance of Verizon buying us. So we are glad the pain is being spread a bit more evenly."

Re:translation: (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234598)

Looks like your prediction is coming true as of... yesterday:

11/30/2011

At the Senate Commerce Committee's confirmation hearings for Federal Communications Commission nominees Wednesday, Republican nominee Ajit Pai - previously employed by at Jenner & Block, the law firm representing clients in the AT&T/T-Mobile deal - told Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison that he "would not feel any prejudice" towards a client of his former firm.

In response to a question from the senator over whether Pai would have possible conflicts of interest going forward, and whether he would recuse himself from the proceedings if he did, Pai told Hutschison, "I do not believe that my short period of employment at Jenner & Block would preclude me from being an effective commissioner, or from robustly participating in commission proceedings."

(cite) [dailycaller.com]

They just love appointing foxes to guard the henhouse, don't they? It sure worked out well for the banking industry, why not telecoms?

Question: Are these committments binding? I doubt! (5, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233936)

It's good the government did not approve this merger. Here's why:

First, behind all these statements will be legalese that I describe after each one of them.

After discounting the job-creating impact of AT&T's LTS and other investments, the report asserts that the merger will cost jobs despite public commitments AT&T has made to address this very concern, including the following:

AT&T should know that public commitments are not legally binding.

Commitment that the merger will not result in any job losses for U.S.-based wireless call center employees of T-Mobile or AT&T who are on the payroll when the merger closes;

How many are these? You will not be surprised that there could be a handful of them in the USA. Even then, you could find that these so called call center employees are not directly employed. Many times, companies will outsource services to the extent that there are pay disparities for employees doing the same job.

Commitment to bring 5,000 wireless call center jobs back to the U.S. that today are outsourced to other countries;

Over what period of time may I ask? AT&T could later argue that they meant returning these jobs "over a period of two or three decades!" Imagine that.

Commitment that T-Mobile's non-management employees whose job functions are no longer required because of the merger will be offered another position in the combined company.

What they do not tell you is that the offered position will be at a significantly lower pay, or that these positions will not be permanent, or that they will have conditions attached to them such that employees will fire themselves.

Who does AT&T think they are fooling?

Re:Question: Are these committments binding? I dou (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234194)

The FCC's mission [wikipedia.org] is to "make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.".

You may notice that it is not their mission to ensure full employment.

Read carefully (5, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38233942)

Notice that every rebuttal made by AT&T is simply a statement by AT&T that they PROMISE not to do what is in their own best interest!

For example, if there is 1 fewer wireless company, there WILL be less total job positions needed. That is an obvious truth of economics : one fewer company means more consolidation, fewer independent cell towers needed, etc. Yet AT&T PROMISES to hire more Americans as CSRs, despite the fact that it would be cheaper for them to keep outsourcing.

AT&T will find it easier to raise prices with the merger because with 1 fewer competitor, the Nash Equilibrium inches closer to monopoly prices. AT&T PROMISES to do otherwise.

AT&T has no competitor to fight for rural broadband market share, yet they PROMISE to build the wires anyway.

And so on and so forth. Every rebuttal basically says "well, maybe it doesn't make market sense, but we have plans to do X if we get our way".

Think about who made this report : some lawyers and marketing folks in AT&T's executive branch. Those people are not going to be unbiased.

Really AT&T? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38233990)

Did AT&T really think they could do this anti-competitive $39 billion dollar move? When the provider with the most expensive plans buys out the provider with the cheapest plans it can't be anything but anti-competitive.

Re:Really AT&T? (1)

f16c (13581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234400)

Right now the provider with the most expensive plans is Verizon. I know as I switched a little over a year ago. AT&T was cheaper over time than Verizon and had better support where I live (East Coast) in some places. This is for "just" phone service with text messages rather than a data plan as none of us has a smart phone. For data plans it makes no real difference - they all cost too much.

Do I think they need to buy T-Mobile? Hell, no! The whole idea stank from the get-go. If this causes them to raise prices I'll switch again. Two years is over at the start of next year and I check other plans at the end of every year. I rolled over for Verizon and they did their jolly best to roast me. I won't go that route again, ever. They might get my business again but I'll keep my eye on prices regardless. Too many of my friends seem to just stick with them out of inertia like I used to.

Senior Executive Vice President (3, Interesting)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234028)

SEVP? Jesus christ why not either just call him a "president" or something. The tech industries titles today are extremely out of hand. VP, SVP, EVP, SEVP, President, Cxx...

Re:Senior Executive Vice President (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234374)

Well, that results from associating pay raises with job titles. Once you hit the top, and you still want more pay, you need to keep adding more titles.

AT&T... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234030)

you mad, son?!?!?

You just watched your CEO hand over $4 billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234164)

in shareholder equity to a direct competitor. What are you going to do next, Gil Amelio (Apple CEO 1996-97) and AT&T's board of directors? [businessweek.com]

"Let's give our boy another 27 million USD annual package [networkworld.com] for losing a third of our shareholder's market cap since he took over in 2007!"

Those looking for jobs at AT&T or T-Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234168)

Seems like a lot of people assume you have to know someone to get a job. That's not necessarily true--sometimes you can go in through the website and get the job.

Golden opportunity lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234200)

I hate AT&T as much, apparently, as everyone on /., especially since I have to use one of their iPhones. But it seems to me that this merger and the pending breakup fee is an opportunity to force AT&T to stop gouging their customers and, in so doing, reform the entire cell phone marketplace. Get bonded commitments to force them to shorten contracts, end exorbitant fees, reduce their 97% margin on SMS, it's a very long list. Verizon and Sprint would be forced to follow suit to stay competitive.

When will we ever have another opportunity like this to reform this market?

Re:Golden opportunity lost (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234278)

What country do you live in? Here in America, regulation of the telcos by the government pretty much ended in 1996. Now we have the "magic of the free market" as promised by the politicians - NOT. We have an "oligopoly", which is a few bricks shy of a cartel.

If only they had made more friends (4, Informative)

mykos (1627575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234320)

Perhaps they'd get some sympathy if they hadn't burned all their bridges with anyone who might listen. Even their own customers hate them.
Maybe they should spend that $39 billion on upgrading their infrastructure instead of eliminating competition.

Re:If only they had made more friends (1)

shuz (706678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234410)

Thank you AT&T for Unix System V.

Re:If only they had made more friends (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234546)

Different ATT. That was ATT, not att. att is just the baby-bell SBC renamed. At least they were kind enough to lower-case the name to avoid confusion.

Translation: (3, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234512)

We thought we had this one bought and paid for.

Maybe their lobbyists should have gotten receipts....

problem is spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38234520)

The #1 problem with AT&T is that they lack usable spectrum when you're indoors. A lot of times I have a signal but the damned phone constantly has trouble making a stable connection when you are in a densely populated cell. Acquiring T-mobile would help this problem. You can't build usable spectrum, you can only win it in bidding wars or by buying competitors. If I remember correctly, Verizon won the last spectrum auction.

Honestly I don't count T-mobile a competitor of AT&T. T-mobile has limited coverage outside of major cities so I would never consider them. Back in my home town in Alaska there were quite a few pissed off tourists who came to find T-mobile invested $0 up there, so they had no cell coverage. I heard T-mobile had great coverage though in places you did have service, which was usually in the densely populated cities where AT&T had overloaded cells.

So yeah, I think this would just help consumers really. Cell companies already charge an arm and a leg and are actually RAISING prices, not dropping them, so I fail to see what the difference/improvement is in denying this merger.

na-na-nan-na-nah (1)

ushere (1015833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38234736)

one sandpit i wouldn't want to be in...
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