AT&T still mad about blocked merger, vows to take it out on customers

AT&T still mad about blocked merger, vows to take it out on customers
Speaking at an annual conference seeking pro-market solutions to social problems, AT&T’s Chairman and  CEO Randall Stephenson took the opportunity to once again whine in public about how unfair it was that AT&T was not allowed to swallow up T-Mobile last year. No longer content to rant solely at the FCC, Stephenson took the opportunity to attack competition in general vowed to raise prices on customers as a result.

Despite never satisfactorily answering questions raised by competitors and government regulators as to how the merger would benefit customers, AT&T is maintaining its party line that they simply don’t have enough bandwidth without adding T-Mobile’s airwaves to their own. Stephenson went on to explain that there are simply too many choices in carrier out there, saying:


The “competition makes us inefficient” line didn’t work too well for Pan Am in the 1940s, and we doubt it will garner much sympathy for AT&T today. Stephenson went on to say they would eventually have to raise prices on customers now that the deal was scuttled, and expressed regret that AT&T hadn’t imposed data usage caps and tiered pricing plans sooner.

We have no doubt that AT&T does regret this – as we’ve discussed before, the sooner everyone is moved off of unlimited data plans the sooner the carriers will have a free path to increasing revenue year over year without having to raise the price-per-GB of data. And we don’t begrudge AT&T for wanting to make money, that’s what they do. But given the threat of companies like Apple jumping in to the wireless network business (and likely rendering networks to true dumb-pipe status) we’re not sure that railing against competition and vowing to raise prices is the best way of securing long-term customer satisfaction.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

source: WSJ

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92 Comments

1. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

What an ass.

40. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Yup, the government turning a blind eye to the evershrinking wireless spectrum. Now thanks to their boneheaded decision, the consumers will still have to pay the price. Ironically, the FCC are harming the consumers they are so trying to protect.

45. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

there is plenty of spectrum left it just has to be reallocated. what we don't have is a lot of nationwide carrier competition. prices would have went up or at least stayed high longer with reduced competition had the merger gone through... which is bad for everyone.. but good for ATT. how dare they have to rethink their ideas and come up with a solution that is ultimately good for them... and us. if they raise their prices they will push themselves out of competition.. I dare them

48. cncrim

Posts: 1589; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I guess you don't see long term effect of the merger, do you?

66. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Yes, the long term effects of the merger would have been bad for everyone...except AT&T. This guy is trying really hard and making a fool of himself in the process. Competition makes us inefficient??? Cry baby...

85. yt6nin

Posts: 100; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

when was the government ever to helpful for the people??? it's just a stupid "authority tag" to declare that they have more power and "knowledge", to justify their decisions and claims... I was really hoping for AT&T and T-Mobile to merge, may be resulting in better and more coverage across the states, but the government decided against and put all of us in misery in the end... We the people, supporting this government has been returned with a real short end of a already short stick... -_-

2. Tmachaveli

Posts: 425; Member since: Apr 01, 2011

Wow that sucks for att customers

11. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

If at&t raises prices ... guess what the other carriers will do ... raise their prices too! It sucks for everyone.

21. rsiders

Posts: 1981; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Of course competition makes everything suck.lol Money hungry ATT. And no bro, all the other carriers aren't going to raise their prices just because ATT does.

36. W.P._Android_in_that_Order

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

If you believe that history repeats itself (and history does) then yes other companies will also raise their prices. Its been happening over and over again ever since the iPhone was introduced to ATT. One of the problems with the mobile industry right now is that it is not conrolled by the customer, but rather conrolled by the stockholder which is why the prices will continue to rise until someone breaks the cycle.

38. nickjjay

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 10, 2011

True. History is very often right.

46. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

that's actually false. prices have come down quite a bit over all in the past 4 years.

63. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

I agree with remix, unfortunately, prices have dropped dramatically since the launch of the first iPhone.

64. jamrockjones

Posts: 345; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

There is a point where people aren't willing to pay for a service that competition can offer for a much lower price. I know plenty of people who went to Sprint when the iPhone became available mainly because of the price. If AT&T wants to higher their prices then I highly doubt they will start gaining new customers and will probably lose existing customers.

83. Baseballer

Posts: 132; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Not on sprint lol. Yes, their speeds right now are crap! But they are fixing everything up with their Network Vision thing. Speeds have really gone up in dallas where i couldnt even surf the internet at times. Couple years and they'll be in great shape

91. thedarkside

Posts: 654; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

AT&T and verizon have been known to match prices to each others plans. if one does it, the other will sure to follow.

3. Goldeneye

Posts: 419; Member since: Jan 22, 2011

Just get over att! Find a better excuse to raise prices, record profits,record activations and still whining about not being able to monopolize the US GSM market,just ridiculous!

19. sithman

Posts: 299; Member since: Apr 21, 2012

Exactly what they wanna do

4. yougotkilled1

Posts: 167; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

Asshole move T__T

5. cmcg53

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 18, 2010

Just another reason why I am glad to not have AT&T. Unless I were to work for them and not have to pay a monthly bill for service!

6. som

Posts: 768; Member since: Nov 10, 2009

Go ahead AT&T raise your price as high as you like people will move to Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. AT&T will be smaller than T-Mobile in the next 2 years when millions of customers end their 2 years contract.

7. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Glad I'm on Verizon. Competition is bad for spectrum?! What the hell is that?

14. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

It's truth. If you have a pie, and 8 people want a slice, you need 8 slices. If you have the same pie but 16 people want it, you need twice as many - and half as large - of slices. Spectrum is the same situation

15. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

No it's bad for profit. Carriers share spectrum all the time.

53. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

I agree with taco.. I feel so dirty...

33. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

i highly doubt that something like spectrum can be counted like a pie as in when its used it's gone... i'd like to see 3rd party reports on the effect users have on spectrum.. and how much spectrum isn't borrowed or loaned to other companies... remember all the times that people said we're running out of ip addresses... or that the backbone of the internet needs to be fixed? and nothing happened? i believe this situation is very similar... it could all be press hype taking advantage of consumers lack of understanding on what spectrum is and how it works...

39. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Your analogy is horrible. Yes, spectrum is limited, but having one, or few, owners of spectrum does not make for inefficient use of it. Why do you think companies get into wholesale wireless? For situations like what he is whining about. If he is really that afraid of running out of spectrum then he should be focused on roaming agreements(read, sharing). That would fix all of his spectrum issues. Att should have known that they weren't going to get the merger though, so they should have never attempted it. All I have to say is that wireless demand is not inelastic, and if he does go raising prices then I can assure him that he will lose business.

8. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Whaaambulance, call in the whaaambulance...is he the CEO of a corporation, holy crap! Talk about throwing a tantrum, lol. Anyway, what's next in the news today?

9. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

And to think that this nutcase almost got his way. This little rant should remove any doubt that AT&T customers would have been f*cked once the merger had been done and baked. Yeah, the 'protected' customers would have been grand-fathered, but we have seen how AT&T treated all of the 'unlimited' customers that exceeded 3 Gb/month....

10. troybuilt

Posts: 155; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

AT&T should merge with the oil companies. Find that it's their policy to raise oil and gas prices all over the country.

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