AT&T Statement on T-Mobile
Closing Seven Call Centers

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“Yesterday, T-Mobile made the sad announcement that it would be closing seven call centers, laying off thousands of workers, and that more layoff announcements may follow. Normally, we’d not comment on something like this. But I feel this is an exception for one big reason– only a few months ago AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved. We also predicted that if the merger failed, T-Mobile would be forced into major layoffs.

“At that time, the current FCC not only rejected our pledges and predictions, they also questioned our credibility. The FCC argued that the merger would cost jobs, not preserve them, and that rejecting it would save jobs. In short, the FCC said they were right, we were wrong, and did so in an aggressive and adamant way.

“Rarely are a regulatory agency’s predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast. But for the government’s decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security. Only a few months later, the truth of who was right is sadly obvious.

“So what’s the lesson here? For one thing, it’s a reminder of why “regulatory humility” should be more than a slogan. The FCC may consider itself an expert agency on telecom, but it is not omniscient. And when it ventures far afield from technical issues, and into judgments about employment or predictions about business decisions, it has often been wildly wrong. The other lesson is even more important, and should be sobering. It is a reminder that in government, as in life, decisions have consequences. One must approach them not as an exercise of power but instead of responsibility, because, as I learned in my years of public service, the price of a bad decision is too often paid by someone else.”

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AT&T Statement on Incentive
Spectrum Auction Legislation

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“We applaud House and Senate negotiators for doing something truly important to our Nation – successfully crafting major spectrum legislation.  Our company has been working on this with key leaders in both chambers for over a year, and the members involved should be proud of what they’ve achieved.  In particular, we are pleased that despite opposing voices, the legislation will not only free up more spectrum, but will finally provide public safety with the spectrum it needs to do its vital work.  Access to more spectrum will also help AT&T continue to create more jobs and support next-generation services for our customers.

“In our industry, there has been much focus in recent weeks on whether the FCC should or should not be able to exclude qualified wireless carriers from bidding in these spectrum auctions.  The final legislation speaks clearly on this point:  the FCC may not do so as part of any auction proceeding.  Instead, it could only make such a decision through a separate public rulemaking with general industry applicability, and not through the backdoor of special auction rules.  This provides procedural safeguards, and also an opportunity for a court challenge.  We take the FCC Chairman at his word when he says there is no intent to have closed auctions that deny AT&T and other carriers the ability to fairly and fully participate, but we also feel it important that Congress has now made its views clear as well.

“We also want to commend Chairmen Upton and Walden for not only asserting the right of the Congress to set policy when it comes to auctions, but also for showing a willingness to deal with the FCC’s concerns about procedural flexibility in its conduct of those auctions.  We believe their language strikes the right balance between all these concerns, and are pleased with the outcome, which is very significant for our industry and our country.”

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Auctions Should Be Open, Not Closed

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affair:

“Auctions should be open, not closed.  Any qualified carrier, including those on today’s letter, should have a chance to bid on any spectrum available in an auction.  This group, however, wants the FCC to stack the deck in its favor.  Congress is right to resist this notion.  In fact, what this group proposes could not be called an auction with a straight face.  These companies should be prepared to compete in a fair and open auction, and should stop seeking a rigged spectrum auction that would harm consumers and cost the Treasury billions.”

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Spectrum Auctions and
Lessons Learned

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

As reported in today’s Communications Daily, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt concedes Commission mistakes in the spectrum auction that involved NextWave, yet he is still pushing for FCC discretion in future spectrum auctions.  The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs:

“As Reed admits, Congress gave the FCC discretion in the PCS C Block auction, and it used that discretion in a way that resulted in an auction that was a disaster for the industry and for the Treasury.  And the flaw, in our view, was not simply a function of installment payments.  It was the decision to have a closed versus an open auction.  Our point is that an auction should be open to all competitors, not just to those hand picked by the FCC.  Reed was a good and diligent chairman, and it’s characteristic of him that he’d acknowledge a mistake.  But Congress has every right to learn from those mistakes, and to insist the FCC not repeat them.  That’s what the House spectrum bill does.  The FCC should get behind it and put the interests of the country first so that we can quickly move forward to address the looming spectrum crisis that we all agree is the biggest threat to innovation, job creation and growth for the wireless industry.”

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AT&T Response to Former FCC Chair’s
Remarks on Spectrum Auctions

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, responds to comments made by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt regarding spectrum auctions:

“Despite Reed Hundt’s recollection, the FCC’s track record on auctions is not an unbroken string of successes.  In fact, Hundt’s tenure saw perhaps the biggest single fiasco of this sort, the PCS C Block auction.  In that situation, the FCC used its discretion in a way that set aside valuable spectrum for ‘designated entities’, and excluded otherwise qualified companies from bidding.  Over half of the 493 licenses from that auction were later returned to the government for non-payment, and the licenses of the largest winner, NextWave, were tied up in bankruptcy litigation for years.  In that case, the FCC’s use of its ‘discretion’ ended up costing the U.S. Treasury billions, and left vitally needed spectrum unused for years.   

“No one is suggesting the FCC’s conduct of auctions be micro-managed.  But Congress – not the FCC – sets policy, especially when it directly impacts revenue needed for deficit reduction.  And there is no more fundamental policy point than whether a spectrum auction should be open or closed.  Congress has every right to tell the FCC it should not be picking winners and losers in the wireless market, or using its ‘discretion’ to tilt the playing field. We need open auctions where every competitor has a fair chance to participate, and that is what the House bill provides.”

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