Posted by: Joan Marsh on May 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm
Since the day we announced our proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Sprint has been alleging that the deal should be blocked because, as a result of the combination, consumer prices will go up. Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse, repeated this claim at the Senate Judiciary hearing on May 11.
For Sprint, which is coming off a quarter where it added 1.1 million customers, this argument is simply not credible for the following three reasons:
First, the argument is contradictory. Outside the Washington Beltway, Dan Hesse has been publicly voicing concern about downward pressure on consumer pricing. Last January, at a Citi Global Telecom Conference, he worried that “pricing is getting much more aggressive” and about having to price aggressively to gain marketshare. Just last fall, Mr. Hesse noted that making progress in the “hyper-competitive [wireless] industry” is tough. In short, in the real world, Mr. Hesse worries most about how robust competition in the U.S. wireless landscape is driving tough pricing competition. I searched comments from Sprint’s last three quarterly earnings calls in vain for any mention of concern about rising prices. It doesn’t exist, for good reason, which leads me to my next point . . .
Posted by: Joan Marsh on May 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm
In our latest installment of our series debunking myths, I’m going to address Sprint’s throw-it-on-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks claim that AT&T currently has the largest licensed spectrum holdings of any wireless carrier and that, rather than deploying our spectrum, we are warehousing it.
The first is a particularly odd accusation coming from Sprint given that Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse, has repeatedly boasted that Sprint has the best spectrum position in the industry. Keep in mind that Sprint is a 54% owner of Clearwire, so it not only has access to its own near-nationwide portfolio of PCS spectrum, but it also has access to Clearwire’s spectrum holdings as well – which is the spectrum supporting Sprint’s 4G products and services.
Outside the beltway, Sprint is not hesitant to brag about its strong spectrum position. Last July, for example, Mr. Hesse said, “We have the spectrum resources where we could add LTE if we choose to do that, on top of the WiMAX network. The beauty of having a lot of spectrum is we have a lot of flexibility.”
Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on May 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain yesterday introduced the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, legislation that would allocate additional spectrum to public safety. The following statement may be attributed to Tim McKone, AT&T’s Executive Vice President of Federal Relations:
“Senators Lieberman and McCain have introduced a thoughtful and comprehensive bill that lays out groundwork for first responders to be able to effectively communicate during times of need. AT&T is very encouraged by the growing bipartisan support for meeting the critical needs of the public safety community.”
Posted by: Bob Quinn on May 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm
My colleague, Joan Marsh, has done a concise job of addressing the question of whether it is really a good idea to require tens of millions of consumers to have to go out and buy new cell phones. Now, I’d like to address, less concisely, but just as importantly, some of the statements made during last week’s hearing on our merger with T-mobile by Sprint CEO Dan Hesse (no relation to Renata Hesse, new most important person in my life) on backhaul.
But first, I need to point out that T-Mobile doesn’t provide special access, and indeed has made significant strides to move away from local landline carrier special access. In fact, last year, T-Mobile projected that by 2Q11, 75% of its cell sites would be served by alternate providers.
What this means is that this merger has absolutely no impact on the issue of special access/wireless backhaul. But despite that, Mr. Hesse brought it up anyway as an issue in this merger.
Specifically, Mr. Hesse asserted that, “Two companies would control most of our nation’s wire line infrastructure and the critical last mile that Sprint and the rest of the industry need [my emphasis] to provide affordable rates and quality service.” And that special access “is a huge piece of our cost structure and the cost structure of all wireless carriers.” He further went on to say that, “What we pay roughly – if you will, 30 percent of the cost of putting in a new cell site goes back to a local landline carrier in the form of payments for special access and those payments are very, very high.”
Posted by: Joan Marsh on May 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm
A lot of myths were perpetuated by some witnesses at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing last Wednesday regarding our proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. The enemy of myth is, of course, fact, and over the next several days, we will debunk these myths in a series of blogs. So, stay tuned.
To start, I want to address Public Knowledge’s argument that AT&T should “stop operating” three different types of technologies, a system which they view as “inefficient” and spectrally “wasteful.” Let’s play that out and see precisely what that world looks like.
First, AT&T would promptly shut down its 2G GSM network – a network that currently supports tens of millions of devices, including handsets for our pre-paid products that are particularly important to fixed and low income customers. As a result, all those handsets would go dark and that customer base would be required to go purchase new mobile broadband (UMTS) handsets, which are generally more expensive.