AT&T Statement on Progress of
Trans Pacific Partnership

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on August 1, 2015 at 9:22 am

The following statement may be attributed to Len Cali, AT&T Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy:

“We commend Ambassador Mike Froman and the Office of the United States Trade Representative on the progress made on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and urge the negotiators to finalize a high standard agreement as soon as possible.  The TPP, once finalized and adopted, will help set the rules for the 21st century for all sectors of the economy, including e-commerce, and provide us with the opportunity to further U.S. economic growth, job creation and investment.”

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Choosing the Right Way

Posted by: Frank Simone on July 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

In the hypercompetitive wireless market, mobile service providers are constantly pushing the envelope to bring better, faster and cheaper services to consumers. Such is the case with the ability to make voice calls over Wi-Fi networks, which enables consumers to make calls in areas that are challenging to serve, like deep indoors, underground and in remote parts of the country.  And because the wireless market moves at a hypercompetitive speed, with several competitors already offering Wi-Fi calling, we have requested that the FCC move with similar speed to act on AT&T’s waiver petition so we can deploy Wi-Fi while maintaining compliance with existing FCC rules.

As we prepare to roll out the service later this year, we’ve made it a top priority to ensure that the new technology is accessible to our customers who are deaf, hard of hearing or have experienced hearing loss, or have speech disabilities.  Some of these customers currently use a 1960’s era technology called a teletypewriter, or TTY.  Current FCC rules require voice services to be TTY- compatible, with specific requirements to transmit 911 (public safety) and 711 (telecom relay services) calls made from a TTY device. The challenge mobile service providers now face is that TTY doesn’t work reliably on Wi-Fi technology because of its sensitivity to packet loss and the considerable variance in Wi-Fi signal strength in real-world applications. We therefore have begun working to implement an alternate solution called Real-Time Text, or RTT.

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Stop the Magenta Madness:
A Word on the Spectrum Reserve

Posted by: Joan Marsh on July 2, 2015 at 10:38 am

We don’t have a slick cartoon full of super heroes and telecom villains.  We aren’t generating a raft of identically-worded robo-letters.  And we aren’t tweeting apocalyptic rants about the demise of wireless choice.  But we do care about the 600 MHz spectrum auction – a lot – and we support the Chairman’s decision to deny certain pending petitions for reconsideration that seek to undermine the balanced solution reached on the spectrum reserve question more than a year ago.

As is often the case, the rhetoric has gotten so heated that some fundamental facts have been all but lost.  The fact is that T-Mobile can bid on any and all blocks of spectrum that will be made available in the 600 MHz auction – not just the spectrum in the reserve.  In the spectrum reserve, T-Mobile will have access to a full 30 MHz of spectrum free from any bidding competition in most major markets from either Verizon or AT&T.

Indeed, when the Commission adopted the reserve framework last year, it created an unprecedented opportunity for two national carriers – T-Mobile and Sprint – to enjoy significant auction advantages over the two other national carriers in the most data-congested markets in the nation.  Never in the history of FCC auctions have two national carriers been given such preferences.

Yet, T-Mobile has demanded more – over and over and over again.

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T-Mobile Should Stop Complaining and Start Investing in Rural America

Posted by: Joan Marsh on June 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Today, T-Mobile filed a petition to deny a spectrum acquisition by AT&T in three rural cellular market areas (CMAs) in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. The purchase will give AT&T the needed spectrum footprint to deploy up to a 10×10 MHz LTE network in these markets, which will enable AT&T to offer faster and higher quality services to its rural customers. The proposed transaction also has no adverse competitive effects. AT&T will not exceed the Commission’s spectrum aggregation screen and — because the spectrum at issue currently sits completely fallow and unused – the deal will not reduce any actual competition.

Yet, T-Mobile complains, arguing that AT&T should not be permitted to buy and deploy this fallow spectrum and that AT&T should not be allowed to invest in these rural communities to deploy high quality LTE services.

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T-Mobile’s Magenta Herring

Posted by: Joan Marsh on June 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm

The ever colorful tweets from T-Mobile CEO John Legere made for interesting reading after his DC tour last week in support of T-Mobile’s quest to expand the 600 MHz spectrum reserve.  T-Mobile has long alleged that an expanded reserve is essential to competition in rural America.  But, the fact is that the reserve framework will have very little impact on wireless service or deployment in rural America.  As I explain below, in many rural areas, AT&T’s low-band portfolio is simply not sufficient to trigger the auction restrictions so our bidding in most rural areas will not be restricted, regardless of the size of the reserve.

What the restrictions are actually designed to do is protect T-Mobile from bidding competition in urban markets – even though T-Mobile itself argues that 92% of non-rural Americans have access to four or more mobile broadband providers.  Only 40% of rural Americans, T-Mobile argues, enjoy the same and thus T-Mobile tries to build a case for expanding the restrictions to support deployment in rural America.

To understand why T-Mobile is wrong – and why the reserve framework is not likely to have much impact on bidding in rural markets – we need to discuss how the reserve framework is structured.

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