Ready, Fire…But No Real Aim

Posted by: Joan Marsh on October 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Yesterday, we were the recipient of another Public Knowledge nasty-gram.  You know the drill.  PK latches onto some straight-forward fact, misrepresents it to some extreme and lashes out with a press release or blog containing reckless and unfounded allegations.  

In this case, Public Knowledge is spinning AT&T’s attempt to sell its WCS C and D block spectrum licenses, which PK alleged was hypocritical and borderline sinister.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on the irony of this allegation.  PK has for months accused us of hoarding spectrum, and now they are indignant and outraged that we are trying to . . . (dramatic pause, insert snippet from Psycho soundtrack) . . . sell spectrum.  Even inside the beltway, that dog don’t woof. 

But more disturbing is how the allegation lays bare just how unknowledgeable Public Knowledge is about spectrum and wireless network deployments – that and how willing it is to mislead.  Let’s consider some basic facts about the WCS C and D blocks (which you won’t find in PK’s press release).  

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VoIP Confusion

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on September 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Reactions to the submission of the ABC Plan and the announcement of the unprecedented joint framework for reform have been overwhelmingly positive. I think it’s fair to say that virtually everyone agrees with the premises that we must transform universal service into a program focused on broadband, not POTS (plain old telephone service), and we must, at the same time, reform intercarrier compensation in a measured way that addresses arbitrage and reduces reliance on implicit subsidies. The ABC Plan accomplishes both objectives.

Nonetheless, some parties have raised concerns about certain components of the plan. One issue that has drawn some criticism is the plan’s proposal for the treatment of traffic exchanged between telecom carriers that originates and/or terminates with a VoIP user. – The plan proposes that such traffic be treated like other traffic exchanged between telecom carriers, except that intrastate access charges would not be applied.

Click here to read more.

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The Power to Password Protect

Posted by: Bob Quinn on August 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Once upon a time, with the increasing popularity of talking on the go, AT&T made it easier for our wireless subscribers to get access to their cell phone voicemail boxes without having to use their password when they were calling the mailbox from their mobile device.  For folks who do a lot of talking while traveling, that option proved safe and certainly more convenient (no entering four or more numbers into the telephone) for our users. 

However, given the advent and, unfortunately, the wide availability of sophisticated telephone number spoofing technology that allows people to “fake” the telephone number they are calling from, we are moving in a new direction.  We have long encouraged our subscribers who might have concerns about voicemail privacy to establish passwords and to set their voicemail preferences to require the use of a password whenever voicemail is accessed. 

Beginning today, however, we will automatically set the default voicemail setting to Password Protect on any new subscriber or new line added to an existing account.  In addition, beginning in early 2012, we will set the default voicemail setting to Password Protect anytime you upgrade or change your handset.  That means whenever you get a new device, you will be required to set a password and use it unless you affirmatively turn the feature off. 

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The Facts that Matter
On Jobs and Diversity

Posted by: Joan Marsh on July 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

In a blog posting last week, Public Knowledge attempted to mount an attack on AT&T on two fronts:  jobs and diversity.  Faced with the unpleasant reality that those whose very mission is to promote and protect those agendas – labor unions and civil rights organizations – have enthusiastically endorsed the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger, PK patronizingly dismisses their advocacy as misinformed, going so far as to accuse them of “blindly follow[ing] AT&T off of a cliff.”  But ironically, even as PK arrogantly discredits those who support the merger, its analysis is cluttered with misinformation and irrelevancies.  

For example, PK, using testimony from a state hearing, asserts that, since 2004, AT&T reduced its workforce by 40% in California while its access line loss was under 9% nationally.  Had PK bothered to check the facts it would have learned that AT&T lost over 11% of its total switched access lines last year alone, with an 11.2% access line loss in 2009 as well.  Indeed, over the past 9 years, AT&T has lost a full half of its access lines.  Yet from 2006 to 2010, AT&T employee headcount decreased by only approximately 12%.  So, far from cutting jobs at a rate that exceeds its access line losses, AT&T has lost access lines at a rate that far exceeds its headcount decreases.  

PK also conveniently ignores the significant investment that will be necessary to expand our LTE network to reach over 97% of all Americans.  That investment will create jobs, and will have job-creating ripple effects throughout the economy, particularly in rural areas.  Recognizing these important ripple effects, the CWA commissioned a study that found that the transaction will create as many as 96,000 new, quality jobs, while accelerating broadband build out and improving wireless communications.  

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Sprint v. Sprint

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on June 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm

By Wayne Watts, AT&T Senior Executive VP and General Counsel

In my 28 years as a lawyer with AT&T, I have been involved in a number of major transactions. Each has presented different issues, involved different competitive landscapes and was reviewed by different Administrations.  One constant, though, is that all of them were subjected to a thorough, fact-based review. 

I have no doubt that this will be the case again as the FCC and DOJ review the AT&T/T-Mobile transaction. It is for that reason that AT&T and T-Mobile USA have gone to great lengths to support our merger with facts. We have produced millions of pages of documents and extensively detailed pleadings supported by 19 sworn declarations.

On the other hand, final comments were filed yesterday at the FCC and merger opponents like Sprint continue to base their opposition on hyperbole, not fact. 

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