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AT&T's CEO says it's time to get customers to use more of the network

Posted: , by Alan F.

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AT&T's CEO says it's time to get customers to use more of the network
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson came forward on Tuesday to say something that others have known for years. The days of carriers paying subsidies so that customers can buy new handsets is coming to an end. Stephenson pointed out that with smartphone penetration in the U.S. at 75% and soon to reach 90%, the goal of the carriers needs to move away from getting people on the network to getting them to use more of the network.

The executive pointed out that AT&T was the first carrier to get rid of unlimited pricing plans, replacing them with shared data plans. Now, 7 out of 10 AT&T customers are using such a plan. Moving to the heart of the matter, Stephenson said that it is not easy trying to get customers to break their habit of buying a new phone every two years. But he said it is worth it because a program like AT&T Next, which offers phones for zero down with monthly installment payments, is a more sustainable way to get smartphones into customers' hands.

"If you are a customer and you don't need to upgrade your device, you can get unlimited talk and text and access to the data network for $45 all-in. You can use your own device or finance it. I think this will be very powerful. It's where we see the market going."-Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T

Stephenson explained that carriers have built out their networks to increase capacity and have worked hard to get customers to focus on smartphones. Now that traffic is less of an issue, AT&T can start pushing low end models. Turning to AT&T's acquisition of Leap Wireless, the CEO said that AT&T is getting the pre-paid carrier's spectrum and the pre-paid name and business. What is the game plan for AT&T with the purchase of Leap? "You will see us go very aggressively in the prepaid market," said the executive.

source: CNET

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posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:20 34

1. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

You want people to use the network? Bring back unlimited data or give us caps that make on network usage worthwhile, you greedy sons of beaches.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:29 12

4. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 904; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

The basic gist of all that article is "we're going to milk the crap out of customers with our data plans while at the same time start making money on our retail phone sales".

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 23:06 1

9. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Seriously, all carriers need to bring back some form of unlimited data. I love Verizon's coverage, but one thing I'll always miss from T-Mobile was their unlimited data. When I was in a 4G covered area with T-Mobile, I could just do whatever without worrying about it very quickly. Now, I have to monitor my usage because I only have 6 GB of data, which is almost useless because not even a month has passed and I've already taken up 19 GB on Wifi.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 23:07 14

10. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 261; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Use more of the network is code for pay more for use of the network.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 04:07 3

16. tedkord (Posts: 13804; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

You misunderstand. By use more of the network, he means buy higher data caps. Pay more. Oh, and pay full price for your phone, too.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 04:11 1

17. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Because he totally doesn't expect people to move to cheaper carriers. There's a cost level at which better reception doesn't matter anymore.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 07:14 2

19. AstronautJones (Posts: 303; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)

T Mo is looking better every day. My contract will be up around time for the upgrade from Note 2 to the Note 4. Might as well switch then

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 12:23

24. tedkord (Posts: 13804; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

And they are clearly nowhere near it, as Sprint continues to shrink and T-Mo continues to be a perpetual fourth place. Of course there is a cost level that people won't cross.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 13:57

28. mikel45365 (Posts: 10; Member since: 07 Feb 2009)

to be fair, they're virtually giving away talk and text as apart of the deal

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:21 7

2. elaizon (Posts: 3; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)

I agree with sniggly

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:23 5

3. ckoch125 (Posts: 192; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

So plans will actually decrease since the subsidy will no longer be in contracts? Yeah right they will slightly decrease the price so it isn't even noticeable..

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:32

5. dspkblympkbl (Posts: 51; Member since: 23 May 2013)

Who is this actually good for? Nobody needs a new phone every six months. That'll just flood the market with tons of second hand devices.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 02:47 1

13. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Not quite, because when you want to buy the new phone in a yearish, you have to trade in the old phone. If you want to keep the old phone you have to wait till the normal upgrade point.

There are no savings here for consumers. The carriers, including T-Mobile, have not made smartphones cheaper than in the past to own. All they've done is make it more visible to us what our smartphones cost. This is why Project Ara/Phonebloks could be coming in at just the right time, because people are not going to want to have to finance phones like they're freaking cars, if they can simply upgrade parts of the phones instead.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 07:12

18. troutsy (Posts: 319; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)

There are plenty of people with cracked screens on their iPhones that should be in the market for a new phone.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:38 1

6. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1116; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)

More network means More $$$ because you're asking us to increase our bill with the AT&T Next program. I know that they're trying to get people away from upgrading every 2 years, but there are times where thats a good thing. We dont live in a world where we can just add money to our monthly bill because we want the hottest and/or best selling phones!! I love the Note 3, but Im not adding $35/month to my bill for it!!!

They can keep AT&T Next, Mobile Share, and all of that crap..............and my wife and I will stay with the plan we've had for a couple of years now.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 22:42 7

7. E.S.1 (Posts: 307; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)

I think this CEO should call T-mobiles CEO John Legere and learn from him.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 23:00

8. cjjohnson86 (Posts: 29; Member since: 05 Jan 2012)

I'm sticking with Tmo thank you!!!!

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 23:16 1

11. xtroid2k (Posts: 529; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)

CEO john legere is not an innovative individual. Just a marketing genious. John understand s that getting customers is all about how you position certain concepts.

1. T-Mobile has done away with two year contracts.
- while you no longer have to sign a contract, the carrier still hooks the customer for 24mos with a payment subsidy to your bill

2. The carrier has has done away with ETF
- Yes there are no longer etf's due to contracts being discontinued however more then likely u will have to finish paying off your device on your final bill which depending on how long u have been paying will be. Less as the months go by. VZW and ATT charge a highly reduced price for locking u into a two year contract. They don't tell you that your paying for the device in the higher price tag buy you are. As the months go by your ETF is smaller because more of this supposed cost of the device has been obsorbed by you the customer.

So the one thing I have to give to is unlimited data across multiple countries and that is nothing to stare past. Also they have great CS and a good selection of phones which is why I went with them.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 09:15

20. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)

The funny part is... The remaining cost of the phone is higher than what the etf would be on a contract plan. I'd rather stick with contract plans or buy my phones outright instead.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 11:09

22. cripton805 (Posts: 1484; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)

Exactly, and with their new finance plans, they actually make money on the phone and on top of that, you end up paying for finance charges.

ETF > Financed or full price phones.

They could have easily kept it just the way it was and just allow you to bring your own phone over without signing a 2 year contract, but they know they will make a lot more money this way.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 23:29 1

12. toiletcleaner (Posts: 224; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)

This guy is funny. Better then Jim Carry because he dont use the mask

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 02:56

14. superfans (Posts: 155; Member since: 30 Jul 2012)

Wow.... Took you how long to realize that ?

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 03:27 1

15. iyngr (Posts: 72; Member since: 14 Jul 2013)

Am done with ATT and their devices. No more unlocks for ATT as people would used to b4. Fu ATT

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 09:39

21. GrndsKeeprWillie (Posts: 14; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

Umm, where's that $45 plan this CEO is referring to? I might not feel like I leaving Att everyday, if they actually had a plan this cheap.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 11:38

23. pradeepreddy (Posts: 65; Member since: 01 Apr 2013)

it's the new mobile share value plan, where you bring your own device &
$25 for unl. talk& text + $20 for 300MB data & it's month-month.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 12:45

25. GrndsKeeprWillie (Posts: 14; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

Ohh yeah. Just found it on their website. Thanks. I guess I just breezed over it since it's such a conservative plan. I could use it if it included 500mb but 300 is currently too close. Also it seems to be a play on words in the quoted statement above it mentions --

"you can get unlimited talk and text and access to the data network for $45 all-in"

--not completely true

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 13:29

26. frustyak (Posts: 222; Member since: 08 Mar 2010)

Walked into Walmart, got my Straight Talk starter kit, now I'm truly only paying $45 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. My LTE is throttled after 2.5 GB, but I've never come close to the 2.5 GB mark. Not even close to 0.5 GB.
AT&T, feel free to give me a call when you can match that. No contract. Then we'll talk.

posted on 11 Dec 2013, 13:52

27. scsa852k (Posts: 331; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)

the CEO wants customers to use more of their network,
and yet they won't offer the customers unlimited data plan.

That makes a lot of sense.

posted on 12 Dec 2013, 08:18

29. frustyak (Posts: 222; Member since: 08 Mar 2010)

If he want customers to use more of their network, maybe AT&T should disable Wifi on their phones :-)

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