AT&T Archives — Page 2 of 2


In one of the most significant legal rulings in the tech industry this year, a Superior Court judge in California has ruled that the practice of charging consumers a fee for ending their cell phone contract early is illegal and violates state law. The preliminary, tentative judgment orders Sprint Nextel to pay customers $18.2 million in reimbursements and, more importantly, orders Sprint to stop trying to collect another $54.7 million from California customers (some 2 million customers total) who have canceled their contracts but refused or failed to pay the termination fee. While an appeal is inevitable, the ruling could have massive fallout throughout the industry.
The colloquium notes Lara Alawattegama (LA): Monopoly means ‘a market with a single supplier’ Why a monopoly happens: 1. No close substitutes 2. Legal barriers to entry 3. Resource barriers 4. Unfair competition -predatory pricing Rohan Samarajiva (RS) : Lack of competition leads to monopolies.
AT&T is finally warming up to Google’s phone OS, Android. T-Mobile and Sprint and members of the Open Handset Alliance, which champions Google’s new Linux-based platform, and Verizon has promised to make its network open to any device, a move that likely had Android devices specifically in mind. At the CTIA wireless show in Vegas AT&T Mobility chief, Ralph de la Vega said, “I like it a lot more than I did before… It’s something we would want in our portfolio.” His conversion on Android came after Google executives showed him that AT&T would be able to load its own applications on any Android handset it sold. Previously, the company had been fearful the handset would be geared too much towards the Google brand.
The Coming Wave of Gadgets That Listen and Obey – New York Times Vlingo’s service lets people talk naturally, rather than making them use a limited number of set phrases. Dave Grannan, the company’s chief executive, demonstrated the Vlingo Find application by asking his phone for a song by Mississippi John Hurt (try typing that with your thumbs), for the location of a local bakery and for a Web search for a consumer product. It was all fast and efficient. Vlingo is designed to adapt to the voice of its primary user, but I was also able to use Mr. Grannan’s phone to find an address.
In yet another blow to the existing GSM operators, the Communication Ministry has decided to auction spectrum for third generation (3G) mobile services and wireless broadband services through technologies such as Wi-Max. The auction will be open to new companies wanting to foray into the telecom sector as well as established foreign telecom players. The existing operators had wanted the auction for 3G services to be limited to the licence holders. The Ministry’s decision to open up the bidding to all players is also a move away from the telecom regulator’s recommendations that it be restricted to existing operators. The move gives a chance to the likes of Deutsche Telecom, AT&T and new Indian players such as Unitech and Hindujas, which may not get spectrum in the 2G band given the huge rush, to enter the high growth telecoms market.

GPhone aims to conquer mobile net

Posted on October 11, 2007  /  0 Comments

Miguel Helft October 11, 2007, New York Times For more than two years, a large group of engineers at Google have been working in secret on a mobile-phone project. As word of their efforts has trickled out, expectations in the tech world for what has been called the Google phone, or GPhone, have risen, the way they do for Apple loyalists before a speech by Steve Jobs. But the GPhone is not likely to be the second coming of the iPhone and Google’s goals are very different from Apple’s. Google wants to extend its dominance of online advertising to the mobile internet, a small market today but one that is expected to grow rapidly. It hopes to persuade wireless carriers and mobile-phone makers to offer phones based on its software, according to people briefed on the project.
The break up of AT&T in 1984 led to a seismic shift in telecom policy and regulatory thinking worldwide and also created the conditions for the Internet boom. New Zealand is a small country quite unlike the US, but it has taken an unprecedented step that has the potential of changing policy and regulatory thinking again. As the excerpt below says, the split is on the lines of the BT reorganization in the UK. That is true. But the key difference is that BT reorganized voluntarily and NZ Telecom, not.
The article also contains interesting data on minutes of use by age group. What’s Good for a Business Can Be Hard on Friends – New York Times Unlike traditional landline telephones, which once made callers distinguish between local and long distance, cellphone carriers divide the world into in-network and outside. And because basic plans from the three major cellphone carriers, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, are all about the same price — under $60 a month — the deciding factor for young people, in particular, is what network friends are on. Carriers are giving customers more options to stay connected with people outside their network. This year, T-Mobile introduced a plan that allows customers to choose five telephone numbers outside its network that they can call free at any time.

Ideas change policy

Posted on July 22, 2007  /  1 Comments

Behind the Google led attempt to free up the mobile networks for all attachments (Carterfone 2), there appears to have been a scholarly article, a Law Review article of all things! This was after many had written requiems for law review articles saying they were getting too esoteric to be of any use. When Mobile Phones Aren’t Truly Mobile – New York Times Then, in February, Timothy Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, published an influential paper, “Wireless Net Neutrality,” which made a well-supported case that the government should compel wireless carriers to open their networks to equipment and software applications that the carriers did not control. Mr. Wu called his proposition a call for “Cellular Carterfone,” referring to the 1968 Carterfone ruling by the F.
By Divakar Goswami (LIRNEasia) Bisnis Indonesia (Leading financial paper of Indonesia): OpEd (In Bahasa) January 10, 2007 Mobile talk is not cheap in Indonesia. Despite limited competition, mobile calling prices are among the highest in Asia. Only fixed wireline service, where PT Telkom has a de facto monopoly, sees calling prices to be among the lowest in the region as they are rigidly regulated by the government. But as everyone knows, it is difficult to get a fixed line and the quality is poor. It is therefore not surprising that policymakers and regulators in Indonesia have become impatient with the results of competition and started to voice their resentment of the high profits being declared by the private telecom companies.

Broadband battles

Posted on November 24, 2006  /  0 Comments

Here is an issue that will feature large in India and even Bhutan, but not Sri Lanka.   The reason is that the former countries have a sizable number of cable connections, which will in the future be used to provide broadband access in competition to phone companies.  Because of the profligacy of frequency-based broadcast licensing in Sri Lanka, there is no cable industry to speak of.   What there is uses frequencies.  That means it cannot easily be turned into a conduit for broadband.
Competition in emerging Asia has spectacularly succeeded in extending connectivity and, now, is also bringing down prices. But there has been little improvement in service. It looks like that too is happening in the US which has facilities based competition between cable and conventional telephone companies. “When workers from AT&T and Verizon visit homes to install their new television services, they come with blue hospital booties that they slip over their shoes before going inside. The sight of burly installers in dainty slip-ons might induce snickers.

The Wi-Fi threat to mobile

Posted on July 29, 2006  /  0 Comments

Later this year, T-Mobile plans to test a service that will allow its subscribers to switch seamlessly between connections to cellular towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, including those in homes and the more than 7,000 it controls in Starbucks outlets, airports and other locations, according to analysts with knowledge of the plans. The company hopes that moving mobile phone traffic off its network will allow it to offer cheaper service and steal customers from cell competitors and landline phone companies like AT&T. “T-Mobile is interested in the replacement or displacement of landline minutes,” said Mark Bolger, director of marketing for T-Mobile. Wi-Fi calling “is one of the technologies that will help us deliver on that promise.” Major phone manufacturers including Nokia, Samsung and Motorola are offering or plan to introduce phones designed for use on both traditional cell and Wi-Fi networks.

Internet lowers phone charges

Posted on July 4, 2006  /  1 Comments

Internet Calling Pressures Bells to Lower Rates – New York Times “The Bells still control the bulk of the country’s 180 million landlines and are far from giving up on what has been a giant cash cow. When pushed, they are even offering their own Internet-based calling, but these services are rarely advertised. It is cheaper to cut prices to keep customers, they figure, than to try to win back customers later from a rival. During the first quarter of this year, the number of traditional telephone lines dropped by 150,000 a week, according to TeleGeography. At the same time, the number of subscribers to Internet telephone services has increased by 100,000 a week.

VSNL Buys Top VoIP Carrier

Posted on July 28, 2005  /  6 Comments

VSNL Buys Top VoIP Carrier India’s incumbent international operator, VSNL, announced today that it had agreed to buy Teleglobe, the largest international voice over IP (VoIP) carrier in the world — and former Canadian monopoly overseas voice carrier. Should the deal meet with shareholder approval and pass regulatory review, the merged company — which also includes the recently integrated Tyco Global Network — would become one of the largest multinational providers of voice, Internet, and bandwidth services. VOICE Teleglobe became the largest carrier in the 30 billion minute international VoIP market when it acquired ITXC in 2004. Although VoIP represented under 15 percent of the global call market in 2004, it is growing at double to triple the rate of the traditional public switched voice market. Combined with Teleglobe’s wholesale voice operations around the world, VSNL will become the fifth largest carrier of voice minutes in the world.

2nd Colloquium

Posted on November 12, 2004  /  0 Comments

Rohan Samarajiva started out by introducing the four case studies that LIRNEasia will be conducting this year which will be LIRNEasia’s contribution to the Expert forum to be held in September-October 2005. Since all four study teams were represented, Rohan gave an overview of the terms of reference common to the projects and went over the timeline. Rohan observed that a good research organization and a consulting firm has a common culture, values and quality standards. This is not the case for “bodyshops” and hence their output was unpredictable, varying from mediocre to excellent. LIRNEasia will not be a bodyshop but will build a common organizational culture, value and standards using multiple methods, the colloquium being one.