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AT&T Threatening To Raise Rates After Merger Failure 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the passing-the-savings-on-to-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In the quarterly earnings call following the defeat of his attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson was quick to lash out at the FCC, claiming that because his company was unable to acquire more spectrum to handle the explosion of mobile data users, AT&T would be forced to raise prices and take additional action against the highest data users. PCMag looked into the other side of the story, finding that 'The FCC spokesman ... pointed out that the FCC has approved more than 150 commercial mobile transaction applications in the past year and more than 300 in the past two years, "facts [that] were completely ignored in the [AT&T] conference call," he said.'"
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AT&T Threatening To Raise Rates After Merger Failure

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  • ...yourselves?
    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:11PM (#38842213)

      It'll teach their customers a lesson - to switch to another carrier.

      The idea that AT&T could ask customers to pay even more while at the same time offering such a crappy data network is patently absurd.

      • by twotacocombo (1529393) on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:15PM (#38843351)

        The idea that AT&T could ask customers to pay even more while at the same time offering such a crappy data network is patently absurd.

        No, the idea is entirely believable. In fact, I would question it if I heard anything to the contrary. This is how big business in America works these days: Take all you can, give nothing back. Or was that pirates? Close enough...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aztracker1 (702135)
        I will never, ever be a customer of AT&T again. When I heard about the AT&T offer for T-Mobile, it was a week before my contract was up. I bailed for a pay as you go service elsewhere.
      • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday January 27, 2012 @02:38PM (#38843745) Journal

        Original story here [reuters.com], comment is the one dated 2011-09-01 at 14:55:

        I also hate to break the news to you, the network won’t become better with the merger, it will get a lot worse before it could ever get better. That is because you are going to try and add spectrum to the issue when the reality is that this about backhaul, engineering philosophy, optimization techniques and know how. If ATT cannot make what they have work, getting another overlaying network will only complicate things, let alone the mix of billing, back end and multiple vendors.

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:22PM (#38841293)

    In the public's defense, At&t's 4g is a joke that's lost all humor, & they drop calls like it's going out of style. Sounds more like they're saying "we can't compete without this merger". My advice = fix your customer service then your revenue margins.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do you hate 'Mer'ka? Why do you love socialism? There is no such thing as corporate greed! There is only corporate glory.

    • by PickyH3D (680158) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:21PM (#38842449)

      I think it's ridiculous that AT&T calls their HSPA+ as 4G, but, as an AT&T customer with a "4G" phone, I must say that it is noticeably faster than an iPhone 4, which is the more traditional 3G. It has also spread to a lot more places than 3G used to be at; it now blankets the town that I grew up in when 3G hardly even reached my parent's house before the "4G" rollout.

      In fact, it actually got so good at my parent's house that their MicroCell (the internet powered, fake tower for your phones in your house when service isn't actually good enough as-is) became an issue because the real signal would fight it for control on the phone, which was killing their phone's batteries.

      Also, since I have moved away from the iPhone 4, I have noticed that my dropped calls have gone away significantly, except in one dead zone near my [highly trafficked, and highly populated] local grocery store. That is to say, they're not gone entirely, but they have been significantly reduced.

      Now, with all of that, I will turn around and say, "screw you, AT&T." Their entire reason for buying T-Mobile was to remove the only significant GSM competitor in the US. They have proven that they do not compete on price, rather Verizon and AT&T play a cat-and-mouse game of raising prices, while the other follows shortly afterward. First, they removed Unlimited Data before any other network because they had refused to upgrade their own network while making significant profits. Recently, they raised the stakes again by adding a GB for an extra $5, but removing the existing plans. So, we went from $30 Unlimited Data to $25 2GB data, to $30 3GB data in the course of a year and a half. Only AT&T and Verizon could think that is reasonable. And the low-end data is an aggressive slap to the face. Originally 200 MB for $15, to 300 MB for $20. The minimum cost of entry is $20 for a nearly worthless data plan? My mother, of all people, gets too close to 200-300 MB usage to make that a reasonable plan because overages cost as much as the data plan for the cheaper option, and $10/GB for the higher plan.

      AT&T can compete without the merger, and they are doing quite well now that Verizon forced their hands by pushing LTE, which was only because, frankly, CDMA data speeds are garbage. They are just sticking it to the FCC so that people blame them when they raise rates. However, the fact is, anyone with any knowledge of the business knows that it is a bogus money grab that needs to be stopped before it gets even further out of hand.

  • Bye Bye AT&T! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by na1led (1030470) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:22PM (#38841305)
    It was nice knowing ya! They are already struggling to keep the customers they currently have, how is raising prices going to help?
    • by blahbooboo (839709) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:28PM (#38841419)

      It's easy. Verizon and AT&T collude on prices. AT&T raises, then Verizon quickly follows...

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Sprint won't mind.

        • by swb (14022)

          The four customers they still have don't care since they're all using Palm Pres.

      • by Tablizer (95088)

        Oligopolies almost always suck in customer satisfaction, always have, and always will.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ackthpt (218170)

          Oligopolies almost always suck in customer satisfaction, always have, and always will.

          Which is exactly how America keeps getting it wrong - the government should do nothing to make their lives easier - keep a low bar to new companies/investors who want to enter the market and offer something new/better. That's real Capitalism, not this bogus Corporate Welfare system.

          • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:25PM (#38842525) Homepage

            What do you do about those industries that require such a huge investment of capital to get started and such high fixed running costs that it's basically impossible to start up a new company without prohibitively large amounts of capital?

            Imagine, for instance, a world in which there are no regulations on telecoms other than the easements required to put lines on government-owned land. Now you want to start up a telecom company, but you don't have the startup capital to set up lines all around the country, so instead you create a plan to set them up all around your town. But the thing is, even if your service is somewhat cheaper or better, nobody wants to buy it, because they want to call people in both Boston and Los Angeles. You could set the price so low that people in your town would buy it, but then you'd be losing money every month (due to the high fixed running costs) and have already burnt through your startup capital. You could negotiate a peering agreement with the big companies that control the telecom backbone, but since your service is much less valuable to them as theirs is to yours, they're going to charge you more than you can afford. Being a shrewd businessperson, you make this analysis before spending cash setting up telephone lines in your town, and don't start the company. And since all other businesspeople in your universe make the same choice, there can be no new sellers in the market, leaving the oligopoly intact. Which leaves everyone else either doing without whatever the oligopoly is selling, or going with the least bad option, and the members of the oligopoly trying to ensure that the least bad option for the customers is lousy service at a way-too-high price.

            That's real capitalism, not the bogus libertarian fantasy.

          • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:27PM (#38842553) Homepage

            Oligopolies almost always suck in customer satisfaction, always have, and always will.

            Which is exactly how America keeps getting it wrong - the government should do nothing to make their lives easier - keep a low bar to new companies/investors who want to enter the market and offer something new/better. That's real Capitalism, not this bogus Corporate Welfare system.

            However, the American government is itself an oligopoly (two parties that will do their best to keep any others from getting into the game), so expect shitty customer (citizen) satisfaction, i.e. more of the same.

      • by Artraze (600366)

        Then people switch to T-Mobile and the issue corrects itself?

  • "In the quarterly earnings call following the defeat of his attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson was quick to lash out at the FCC, claiming that because his company was unable to acquire more spectrum to handle the explosion of mobile data users, AT&T would be forced to raise prices and take additional action against the highest data users. PCMag looked into the other side of the story, finding that 'The FCC spokesman ... pointed out that the FCC has approved more than 150 commercial mobile transaction applications in the past year and more than 300 in the past two years, "facts [that] were completely ignored in the [AT&T] conference call," he said.'"

    It's not just heavy users AT&T attacks, it's also regular users. AT&T was just denied the means to get rid of competition that was doing just fine.

    Perhaps AT&T should think about improving their own service and removing those caps. It's not like Sprint has suffered much with the iDevices having sane, flat-rate data.

    Trying to push metered data in a flat-rate world just doesn't work for superior service.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:23PM (#38841323)

    AT&T already lost me as a customer permanently based on their high rates and higher opinion of themselves and their quality of service.

    Double 'em, Triple 'em, that'll show the consumer!

    • by fermion (181285)
      And if you are a user of a lot of data, that is exactly what ATT, and frankly most of the users want, especially since ATT will probably also include another data level that is cheaper than the GB level. Probably if one were not loading prono 24X7, we might still have a simple unlimited plan.

      And I am not sure which nation provider has a cheaper data plan. I have Verizon and ATT data plans, and the Verizon i quite a bit more expensive. I have had Sprint, but despite their clams it was neither faster fo

  • Aren't you glad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ronin X (121414) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:24PM (#38841329)

    ... you can still switch to T-Mobile?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a former customer of at&t that switched to t-mobile, then had to sweat through the fear of at&t eating my escape company, I feel like this is a double win.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Who apparently have lots of unused spectrum and so, by this reasoning, should have very low data rates!

    • by sethstorm (512897) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:40PM (#38841661) Homepage

      Not only do you get to keep a good plan, you get to keep it. For ages.

    • No, because T-Mobile's policies suck too. Can't we get a decent cell phone plan in this country?
      • Can't we get a decent cell phone plan in this country?

        That is up to voters and consumers. Vote at the ballot box and with your wallet and things will improve. Complain on the internet, and not so much.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile's Walmart plan are both decent. VM's plan is unlimited SMS/MMS, 300 voice minutes, 2.5GB of data then throttled, all for $35/month (my wife has the same deal at $25/month but hers is a grandfathered plan). Oh, and no fees or anything except local sales tax. You do have to buy your own phone but there is no contract. The T-Mobile plan is 5GB of data, unlimited SMS/MMS, and 100 voice minutes for $30/month. It's also a month to month plan with no device subsidy. I'm not sure if there
        • The T-Mobile plan is 5GB of data

          Worth mentioning that this is also not a hard cap, but you're simply throttled down (to EDGE) once you reach it. Meaning that's it's actually unlimited, not "unlimited" (we'll call you if you use too much!) like AT&T's.

          I'm not sure if there are any extra fees since I haven't signed up for it.

          I've switched recently, and $30 is the only thing that shows up in my monthly bill. The only other thing I've paid was to get this SIM card + activation kit [amazon.com] from Amazon.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:24PM (#38841331)

    So, in retaliation to the government blocking their merger with T-Mobile, they're going to drive their own customers away to their competitors by raising rates and penalizing them?

    Yeah, good call AT&T. That'll teach....uh....them?

    • by brainzach (2032950) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:40PM (#38841663)

      AT&T wants its high data users to go to a competitor and clog up their networks instead.

      It is a simple business decision. Spend billions of dollars upgrading you network to accommodate everyone, or develop a pricing structure to drive its heavy users away. You could lose 5-10% of your revenue, but get to support 50% less bandwidth over the network.

      • by bky1701 (979071) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:05PM (#38842137) Homepage
        Data use keeps growing, though. Today's "high data users" are tomorrow's normal users. You can't survive without infrastructure. Too bad we have too many libertard types to actually properly regulate these businesses and require them to put some of their profits back in.
        • Data use keeps growing, though. Today's "high data users" are tomorrow's normal users.

          Then tomorrow you can raise your caps and roll out higher bandwidth LTE technology that more efficiently uses your spectrum.

        • Today's "high data users" are tomorrow's normal users.

          Exactly. Ten years ago you could surf the web on a 1 mbps connection and still zip around fairly well. Nowadays it's like being on fucking dial-up again.

          With everyone pushing "the cloud", and more and more people adopting cloud services for streaming media, it's only a matter of time before what AT&T considers a "high-data user" is their average, and that matter of time is likely a lot shorter than what they think. This whole bandwidth crunch is a reflection of bad planning on their part as it is. I

  • Prima Donna (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If higher prices were more profitable (i.e. could be used to increase revenue and offset losses), then they would've raised the prices either way. Claims that they need to raise prices now are just posturing.

  • Childish Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deathnerd (1734374) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:25PM (#38841345)
    Did anyone else picture this guy throwing a tantrum and raging like a toddler when they read the summary? I think that's a fair description of what's going on here.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:29PM (#38841437)

      You sir are giving a bad name to toddlers. Please refrain from besmirching their reputation.

      • You sir are giving a bad name to toddlers. Please refrain from besmirching their reputation.

        HAH! Oh if only I had the mod points. +1 Funny

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Yes, but in all fairness I picture all corporate employees who lash out like this.
      Since when did Corporations become the schoolyard I was on when I was 12?
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Yes, but this is typical.

      1) In response to new government rules that airlines must advertise the bottom-line ticket prices, Spirit airlines whined [consumertr...liance.org]: "Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation's latest fare rules, Spirit must now HIDE the government's taxes and fees in your fares." (Which is a lie - they can still show a price breakdown, but must now show the bottom-line total).

      2) Bank of America was eager to rationalize [wsj.com] their $5/mo ATM card fee as "unintended consequence" of new regulations on on

    • Did anyone else picture this guy throwing a tantrum and raging like a toddler when they read the summary? I think that's a fair description of what's going on here.

      And a chillingly-accurate description of an average American CEO. They may teach ethics in Business School (more as comic relief, I'd wager), but there is no way they even broach the subjects of selflessness and maturity.

  • by DrDitto (962751) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:26PM (#38841387)
    One of the core concepts of "cellular" phones is that "cells" enable frequence reuse. Now this has to be carefully done to prevent interference, but in general, decreasing the size of cells will increase capacity. Of course this adds infrastructure cost.
    • by Icepick_ (25751)

      Not so with CDMA/UMTS/LTE. All cells operate on the same frequency.

      Under these coding schemes, more cells allow more capacity, but they all use the same spectrum.

      • by tgd (2822)

        Not so with CDMA/UMTS/LTE. All cells operate on the same frequency.

        Under these coding schemes, more cells allow more capacity, but they all use the same spectrum.

        My cordless phone uses the same frequencies of, oh, probably a hundred million other devices in the US.

        Thankfully I don't run it with a 50 megawatt transmitter, so we're all okay.

      • by DrDitto (962751)
        I don't recall the specifics. I thought the IS-95 CDMA had several channels with each using ~ 1MHz of shared spectrum. Even so, CDMA does use very fine-grained power control. Make the cells smaller and the transmitters reduce their power such that interference with adjacent cells is reduced (and battery life improved, etc.).
    • by tgd (2822)

      One of the core concepts of "cellular" phones is that "cells" enable frequence reuse. Now this has to be carefully done to prevent interference, but in general, decreasing the size of cells will increase capacity. Of course this adds infrastructure cost.

      But then you have to cut the power of each cell, and you start to have more problems with coverage in buildings.

      There's a limit to what ATT can do without more spectrum. Expanding wifi coverage in denser urban areas would be a nice start, but at some level they are stuck unless entirely new technology making better use of the spectrum becomes available.

  • Hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ScooterComputer (10306) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:29PM (#38841433)

    AT&T is just a big bundle of fail. Now, after a merger attempt that they should have KNOWN would fail given the history of a monopoly Telecom Industry in the US (the history, in fact, of AT&T!), AT&T is complaining again that the FCC is prohibiting them from getting too big (Too Big to Fail?).

    But worse, they keep throwing out claims like "take additional action against the highest data users." Yet, just Monday, they raised the rates on their data users AND increased data caps...even though their own statements from prior in the year gave the picture that 90% of users didn't USE more than 2GB! Do they understand how pricing works in an economic model??? If you want users to use LESS data, LOWER THE PRICING ON YOUR LOWER DATA TIER AND INCREASE THE PRICE ON THE HIGHER TIERS! Furthermore, set tiers levels to actual DATA USAGE PATTERNS! There is no reason there is a 300MB tier (was a 200MB tier) and a 3GB (2GB) tier when all the study data is showing most users are consuming 500-1300MB, with an average of 850.

    I'm tired of hearing this crap from AT&T, greed shrouded in pleas of victimhood. What I don't understand is how it doesn't constitute fraud, or cause securities issues. Public companies making patently false statements face consequences. Furthermore, I'm even less impressed with the media and the tech media, in specific, for not doing a better job calling AT&T out and making them look like the greedy pricks they are.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      I would have thought the opposite given that the former AT&T has already T-2000'd itself back into 3 pieces from the original 8, with the new at&t being 5 of those pieces.

    • "Good news, customer! We're adding five more new, exciting channels you've never heard of and will never watch*!)

      * - Because your bill will be going up next quarter due to our greed along with the greed of professional sports leagues, but we'll never admit that.
  • Verizon's line up and availability of their '4G' have already had me considering the switch from AT&T, I'd rather pay premium and get premium than pay premium and get AT&T. =/
  • Wow! (Score:4, Informative)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:31PM (#38841477)
    /*
    Is this a case of a government agency actually turning down big business when it is supposed to, or was there an even bigger backroom deal with another company?
    */

    In all reality, I had a cheap AT&T prepay phone, and it was terrible. I know little about how GSM networks handle voice calls, but it seemed obvious that I was getting extra compression on my calls. The sound quality was so bad as to be almost unusable. I have since switched to a secondary reseller that operates on Sprint, and the quality is good, I have yet to have a dropped call, and there are no surprises. Of course, I use a different phone as well, so the phone could have had something to do with the sound quality, but it sure sounded like excessive digital compression to me, which screams network function, not phone function.
    • I actually have both an AT&T (Blackberry) and a Sprint-based-prepaid (cheap Samsung Android) phone and I can confirm that my observations are the same as yours.
      I call international occasionally and use calling cards and the like. They compress the signal again, so it is important that the data be not already compressed. Every time I call using AT&T, it sounds tinny. I can immediately switch to my Sprint phone and the signal is a lot better. I had T-Mobile (G1) earlier, but I did not have this prob
  • So if you raise rates, more people will switch to Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile.

    AT&T Mobile sure is whiny.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:37PM (#38841597)

    just how did we let this happen AGAIN?

    in the 80's we fought hard to break up ATT.

    now, they're back again as a single entity.

    how did that happen?? and why did we care back then but don't really care, now?

    what changed over the last 30 or so years?

    • by spidercoz (947220)
      What do you mean, "how did that happen?" Have you had your head up your ass for the last 20 years? They've been reaquiring and reconsolidating since the early 90s.

      To answer "what changed?": we now have several monolithic, corporate juggernauts where before was just Ma, and somehow that's better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by artor3 (1344997)

      Reagan happened. Him and all the corporatist looters to follow in his footsteps. These days, corporations aren't just people, they're better than people.

      • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:00PM (#38842033) Homepage Journal

        Reagan happened. Him and all the corporatist looters to follow in his footsteps. These days, corporations aren't just people, they're better than people.

        You remind me of working on my Economics studies with Financial News Network rattling away on the telly. Myron Kandel covering the buy-out and merger mania which ultimately looted treasuries of companies, which were then spun off with a whole new debt. And Wall Street loved it. Big news of the day was KKR and RJ Reynolds bidding insane amounts for Nabisco. Mr. Kandel was effective in detailing KKR's strategy, should they win - they'd split up the various bits of Nabisco and spin them off, while keeping all the money in the company bank accounts. Sounds evil, doesn't it? It happened time and again during the Reagan and Bush Sr. eras. Did nothing for the people of the country, company customers, but made a bunch of weasels rich, while sacking a lot of people and robbing ledgers.

    • by tgd (2822)

      what changed over the last 30 or so years?

      30 years ago, people didn't want their phone service to work around the world.

      You can't have 100 different wireless providers in the US and actually end up with the service that end user's actually want.

    • We let ATnT bribe it's way into being a bigger monster than they were previously and this despite having 1 majorly huge competitor in the cell market. The two of them together screw us probably worse than 1 entity because it wouldn't take long (well maybe a decade) to split them up again. That is being optimistic; but they can do quite well with an excuse of competition; plus this time they can make sure the system doesn't work like it did in the past.

      The public has Internet AND TV to distract them with "

    • by Bucky24 (1943328)
      Back in the 80's AT&T was the ONLY phone provider. Now that is no longer the case. People have alternatives. They can go to Comcast for internet (and a few other smaller providers, like Sonic.net, on the west coast, and Cox on the east coast). They can also go to Comcast for phone, or Verizon, or T-Mobile. So AT&T, while dangerous, is not the ultimate communications monopoly that they were back when they were broken apart.

      Or we just don't care now, you are probably right about that too.
    • by Curlsman (1041022)
      Ed Whitacre, CEO of Texas-based SBC wanted to retire as CEO of ATT.
      So he had SBC buy Regional Operation Bells Pacific Telesis, Ameritech, Bell South among others (and transferred the state that the employees where employed from to Texas so Texas laws applied, that's what I was told when Pac Bell/SBC outsourced me to a foreign company), and then bought ATT and changed the name of the company.
      At each step, every state Public Utilities Commission and Fed agencies let him.

      I figured Judge Green, who wrote
  • Anyone know if this would violate contracts with AT&T? I mean, if you agreed to a 2-year contract, and after a month they double their rates, I would think you would then be allowed to move to a different carrier.

    • AT&T cannot raise prices mid contract without offering you a way out of it that doesn't involve an early termination fee.
    • I've seen numerous threads on mobile forums with people saying good time to get out of your contract due to changes made in their terms. I presume the same would apply here as well
    • We may change any terms, conditions, rates, fees, expenses, or charges regarding your Services at any time. We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmental mandates, roaming rates or administrative charges) either in your monthly bill or separately. You understand and agree that State and Federal Universal Service Fees and other governmentally imposed fees, whether or not assessed directly upon you, may be increased based upon the government's or our calculations.

      IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE'LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

      From the AT&T Wireless Terms and Conditions [att.com], Section 1.3.

  • Another dummy spit by some smug, business class wanker with a massive sense of entitlement.

    In his overblown imaginations, he's a Galtian superman. In reality, he's just another huckster, who happened to make the big time.

  • The funny from my perspective is that in a decade as an AT&T customer, first just long distance, then wireless, I always got great customer service from them. The problem was when I bought my house the reception was terrible and I couldn't get cell calls in my own living room or even in my driveway. Oh yeah, and dropped calls were fairly common.

    I hated leaving the good customer service but I ended up switching to Verizon because their coverage in central CA is much better than AT&T. I almost never d

  • Go ahead, AT&T (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SecurityGuy (217807) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:51PM (#38841875)

    And yes, I'm a customer, so this would impact me.

    We're not suckers. You're a business. If you can make more by raising rates, you will. That's an absolute given. The only reason any business led by someone with a brain doesn't raise rates is because it will cost them money because people will leave. The FCC told you no because your proposed merger would significantly reduce consumers' options to do just that. Leave.

    The irony is I, and a lot of others, are only your customer because you had an iphone exclusive. In other words, you had a deal to suppress competition. I am ditching you soon and going to Verizon now that that's over and it's about new phone time.

    I may sound anti ATT, but I'm not. Just give me good service and as good a deal or better than your competition and I'll be delighted to stay your customer. Unfortunately, that's not what you've done, and not what you're trying to do. You're trying to limit my options so I have to be your customer. That alone is reason to leave.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:52PM (#38841897) Journal
    Honestly, AT&T's threat to raise rates is exactly the sort of thing that confirms that denying them was a good idea. If a company can raise their prices and expect to make more money, rather than lose customers to less petulant firms, they already have dangerously high market power(particularly for something as relatively homogenous as wireless telco services. Certain goods simply don't have much in the way of substitutes).

    One could go so far as to say that, as a heuristic, anybody who could make, and make good on, such a threat if they don't get what they want, Should Not be allowed to get what they want...
  • Hey ATT... (Score:5, Funny)

    by milbournosphere (1273186) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:54PM (#38841927)
    fuck you, too.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday January 27, 2012 @01:01PM (#38842037)

    This is only tangentially related to the topic, but carriers keep promoting how fast their network is and how I can get 12mbit+ of bandwidth to my phone. But I wonder.... why should I care? Especially since I could hit my monthly download cap in less than an hour at that speed.

    I can see why faster networks benefit the carrier since faster speeds means more people can share the bandwidth, but why should I care as an end user? Even if I regularly watched movies on my phone, I don't think I can really tell the difference between a 800kbs stream and a 4mbit stream on my 3" screen. And a 90 minute movie at 4mbit will use around 2GB of my download bandwidth. (compared to around 400MB for the 800kbs stream)

    I don't have the latest phone, but with my 1Ghz single core processor, when I'm browsing the web, the browser rendering speed seems to be my limiting factor since browsing speed doesn't seem to be noticeably different whether I'm on my carrier's 3G network or my Wifi at home (with 15mbit of bandwidth to the internet).

    So, why should I really care what the peak download speed of a carrier's 4G network is? It seems like I should be more interested in the average real-world speed they can provide on a loaded network than in whether or not I can download a short burst at some high peak speed.

    Is there any reason to care about published 4G speeds? Or is it more like Megapixels in cameras - manufacturers promote megapixels because it's an easy term to explain and many people think that megapixels are most important when it's really just one of many factors (sensor size, lens, etc) that all need to be considered. A quality 5MP camera can give better images than a cheap 12MP camera.

    • by killfixx (148785) *

      If only I had the mod points...

      This is a perfectly reasonable and insightful argument. If they limited everyone to 1mbps downstream, that would be plenty for almost everyone. Webpages, why would you need the entire page to load instantly? It's a phone, just rework mobile http to fetch the first screen and then the remaining elements.

      But, then how would they be able to make billions? Oh No!! Well, charge by throughput, not usage. The faster it goes, the more you pay. Works great for wired ISPs.

      Hell, put a se

  • Now that you have $6 billion of our cash and spectrum allocation, why don't you take our customers too?
  • Is anyone really surprised here? AT&T was going to raise prices anyway, no matter how this deal went. The only difference is, had they gotten T-Mobile, they would have probably raised rates even more, since there would have been one less competitor in the market for people to go to. All they're doing is trying to justify this increase in light of the deal falling apart. If the deal had happened, they'd have said that the rate increase was coming anyway, but it would have been larger had they not got

  • Seriously, you have been fucking your customer well before I was even born in the late 70's and you continue to this day, meanwhile guess what? the world has been changing, and while you all are sitting around a table laughing to the bank on scams, people like me in 2010 could not even make a fucking voice call in a populated area with a god damned giant ass att tower visible in the distance! While a nobody prepaid from jersey piggybacking on the pcs network has been working great with less dropped calls!

    I

  • Your competitors will laugh their way to the bank.

    ATT already is having a hard time competing. If they raise prices they might as well go out of business.

  • Stockholders should start voting the CEO out now before it's too late. The guy obviously has tunnel vision and is completely clueless about how to fix AT&T's issues properly.

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