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AT&T tricked by Senate questioning; carrier admits it was big enough to handle Apple iPhone launch

Posted: , by Alan F.

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AT&T tricked by Senate questioning; carrier admits it was big enough to handle Apple iPhone launch
In a U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday to determine if the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T would be anti-competitive, Senator Al Franken got the best of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. Keep in mind that what the Senate wants to hear is that AT&T is not some gigantic company that would be able to gouge the public and grab exclusives on handsets once it gobbles up the nation's fourth largest carrier.

Stephenson was asked by Senator Franken, a former television comic, if the executive thought that the original launch of the Apple iPhone could have gone to a regional carrier instead of AT&T. Stephenson replied that he thought that Apple would not have wanted a smaller carrier for the launch and would rather have had a large national firm like AT&T handling the release of the handset.

A number of witnesses came out against the transaction. Cellular South CEO Victor Meena said that AT&T used its "market power" to get the iPhone exclusive which ended earlier this year when Verizon launched a CDMA version of the popular cell phone. Democrat Senator Klobuchar chimed in with statistics showing that AT&T owned 44% of the cell phone market, enabling them to get any device they want to offer.

CEO Stephenson downplayed the importance of the Apple iPhone on AT&T's growth, contradicting past statements that stated how important the device is to the growth of the carrier. AT&T has always noted that Apple's device was the top selling handset for AT&T ever since its 2007 launch and the company has always broken out sales of the phone separately when releasing earnings. By making the iPhone sound insignificant, AT&T can claim that its size did not allow it to report huge profits at the expense of smaller carriers.

source: electronista

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posted on 11 May 2011, 12:43 4

1. nb2six (Posts: 298; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)

oh ATT you've put yourself in quite the pickle now and not one of those pickles you find on a hamburger. We're talking a full blown whole dill pickle out of the jar.

posted on 11 May 2011, 12:52 3

3. Spear (unregistered)

pickle, extra pickles, cheese, bun seeds,
and pickles all my pickles and some extra pickly pickles,cheese, pickles

Chicken tenders. Sweet and sour sauce all over my body!

posted on 11 May 2011, 13:18 2

7. z31k_3 (Posts: 27; Member since: 06 May 2011)

lol.. Classic Dane Cook.. :)

posted on 11 May 2011, 13:59 4

9. Brad (unregistered)

yes, dane cook, the most unfunny "comedian" alive.

posted on 11 May 2011, 15:21 4

12. icepikk (Posts: 32; Member since: 13 Feb 2011)

Yes, so unfunny he had an album that was ranked #4 in sales when it came out and was the best selling comedy album since Steve Martin. Not to mention sold out concerts. Yes, it must because he is so "unfunny." Just because you dont like his humor, or any humor maybe, doesnt make someone "unfunny." Especially when plenty of people think he is.

posted on 11 May 2011, 16:52 4

13. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

that doesnt make him funny. dane cook is sooo.. NOT funny. and the sound of his voice just irks me for some reason.

gallager.. now he was funny!

posted on 11 May 2011, 17:47 4

15. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

i do not understand why att cant just by tmobile... if they have enough money and tmobile is for sale they should be allowed to but it... the government is getting in the way of the economy and that is never good...

posted on 11 May 2011, 22:07 4

18. Stupider (unregistered)

Did you sleep through high school? Just curious ...

posted on 11 May 2011, 23:19 2

19. OsirisRa (Posts: 46; Member since: 17 Dec 2010)

If ATT buys out TMobile the rate plans will rise. They will monopolize the GSM services in this country. ATT knows that people love to buy unlocked phones and pop in a SIM card. Im screwed if it does go through because ima be one of those fools paying a premium rate to use the phone I chose, not the carrier.

posted on 11 May 2011, 23:51 1

20. You'reAtool (unregistered)

Because it's impossible to "by" something. You're an idiot for thinking ATT should just be able to "BUY" another company just because they have the money.

posted on 11 May 2011, 12:46

2. dandirk (unregistered)


posted on 11 May 2011, 12:53 4

4. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Ha ha I love Al Franken. If you haven't seen it you have to check out when he talked about his new book on CSPAN and got into it with Bill O'reilly. He made fun of him to his face for about 10 minutes. It was great.

posted on 11 May 2011, 12:55 3

5. SomeGuy (unregistered)

Al Franken is my hero. I wish he was my senator. Politics in general are hilarious. It's interesting how they get people to say certain things.

posted on 11 May 2011, 14:26 4

10. Gcombs (unregistered)

Senator Al is my bud. I met him a few times at events he hosted here in Minnesota. Great guy and funny.

posted on 11 May 2011, 22:03 2

17. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

Franken is fucking amazing. This is one guy who isn't in it for the money or to just get re-elected. Fucking love him.

posted on 12 May 2011, 09:45

24. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

yea, the guy that was elected through shady recounts. "oh wait.. we just happened to find a whole trunk full of votes for the republican nominee in the trunk of an Al franken volenteer that worked at the polls".. and then they got a liberal judge to say those votes shouldnt count for some reason.

yup.. thats amazing alright.

but hey, at least hes doing something positive at the moment.

posted on 18 May 2011, 17:55

25. Doug Freshlich (unregistered)


Ain't that the truth.

Actually, he's the only Lib I like.

posted on 11 May 2011, 13:02 1

6. PickleMan (unregistered)

Ohhh yeah, pickles, pickle touch my pickle. I got a pickle, i got a pickle, i got a pickle hey hey hey hey! Actually keep the pickle give me Samsung Galaxy S 2!! cough *verizon* cough.

posted on 11 May 2011, 13:29 2

8. TreyTreyTaylor (Posts: 708; Member since: 21 Dec 2010)

PLEASE don't let this merger go through. I'm thinking about leaving Verizon for the T-Mobile HTC Sensation and a cheaper plan. But if Big Red gets the Galaxy S2 forget I said anything.

posted on 11 May 2011, 16:54 3

14. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

why not go to tmobile for the galaxyS2 then? It will be 21mb/s 4g on tmobile and when the merger does unfortunately happen you will be on a super cheap plan that no longer exists.

and you wont have to worry about verizon forcing bing and other carriercrap on to another galaxy device while saving money all the way around.. lol

posted on 11 May 2011, 14:46 3

11. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 871; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)

Franken is a dipshit, but I love when people get twisted up in their own shit. Serves the AT&T CEO right for trying to downplay shit.

posted on 11 May 2011, 18:48 4

16. celljudgecom (unregistered)

I don't know what all of this hoopla is about anyway. It's going to get passed and everyone knows it. This is just for show. Everything that gets "scrutinized" is already known and available to the public. Personally I don't agree with the merger but they've already made their decision.

posted on 12 May 2011, 02:56

21. N-dawg (unregistered)

When Verizon Wireless bought out Alltel they had to sell off pieces of it so they didn't have a full on monopoly. It will probably be the same here as well with AT&T having to sell off parts of T-Mobile so the perception of giving the little guys a fighting chance is shown.

posted on 12 May 2011, 03:38 1

22. monstermash1234 (unregistered)

For anyone who thinks that it's not "fair" ATT isn't allowed to purchase T-Mobile without jumping through some hoops, consider the business practices of ATT. Every wireless and phone carrier it has bought out has gone to crap. ATT used to offer cell phones...they went under because of their high priced plans, bill hikes, and inconsistent cell service. Then, their network went to Cingular. Cingular was good. Then, ATT bought them out again or took charge of the company...and now...well, ATT is sucking it up again. To give a company that much power, by not providing consumers with another GSM choice, is, itself, against capitalism. Keep the monopoly away. If people want to stick with ATT, then good for them, let them. I'm happy with T-Mobile, and I hope to God ATT doesn't buy them. Also, lots of people seem to believe that their T-Mobile plans will be grandfathered in with ATT. That's a conclusion I think many people are taking for granted as being true. When a company is bought out, the owning company, legally, has the right to change whatever plans they wish. ATT may lose a lot of customers doing this, but for people who want a GSM carrier, are they really going to have any choice?

posted on 12 May 2011, 08:50

23. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)

Isn't this business 101 if you're a cell phone maker? If I was Apple, HTC, Sony or any other make I would go with the people who can put my phone into the most hands also. Don't make this about the phone makers. That part of this should be about the FTC and how the us is the open place where phones are locked.

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