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. 

Read More

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.  

Read More

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. 

Read More

‘It is Much Easier to Be
Critical than to Be Correct’

Posted by: Joan Marsh on June 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

There is one overarching imperative that drives this merger:  giving AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers the network capacity they need to enjoy the full promise of the mobile broadband revolution.  The combination of these two companies, and their uniquely complementary networks and spectrum holdings, will create new capacity – the functional equivalent of new spectrum – to handle rapidly escalating mobile data traffic.  Indeed, the capacity of the combined company will exceed that of AT&T and T-Mobile operating separately.  

The winners will be America’s consumers because the extra capacity will enable us to offer them better service — faster data speeds and fewer dropped and blocked calls.    

And with the scale, spectrum, and other resources generated by this transaction, the combined company will be able to offer Long Term Evolution, or LTE — the premier next-generation wireless broadband technology — to an extra 55 million people and more than 97 percent of the U.S. population, all without reliance on government funds.  And that is a big win for rural America because it gives those communities the same high quality broadband service that consumers in urban areas will receive.  It also means more jobs and more investment.  

Read More

The Innovators Have Spoken

Posted by: Bob Quinn on June 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

In the past couple weeks we have seen incredible support for our merger with T-Mobile come from a large and broadly diverse number of high-tech companies that recognize the need for robust capacity to support further growth and innovation in mobile broadband.  And the most recent positive statements regarding the benefits that this transaction will bring came today from TechNet – The Voice of the Innovation Economy.  

The opposition is fond of throwing out unsubstantiated claims that our T-Mobile merger is going to somehow kill innovation and drive our society back in time (via DeLorean?  Or maybe a hot tub?) to the age of two-pound brick phones again. My friend Gigi Sohn actually brought one of those with her to the Senate Judiciary Hearing last month.  I’ve been shaking my head about this for weeks, baffled that this idea is perceived as credible by anyone. And I’m not just talking about those of us in the industry.  

Your average consumer is regularly bombarded with an extraordinary selection in new devices, apps and services.  Over the course of the past 15 years, this industry has been characterized by mind-blowing innovation, and continually new and improved services for lower prices.  Is there really a legitimate fear that all of that innovation and wonder will simply end with this transaction?  Of course not, but the rhetoric from our merger opponents on the “innovation issue” has continued.  Well, they can finally stop beating that drum because this week, the innovators have spoken and they are telling policymakers a different story. 

Read More