We at Public Knowledge are honored that AT&T would take time out of its busy day to write an entire blog post about our testimony at a Senate hearing on the company’s takeover of T-Mobile.
The fact that AT&T prefers to condemn millions of people to backwards technology for years to come to save money is irrelevant.
Oh, wait. Did AT&T really say it wanted to keep millions of people from backwards phones and slow technology? Perhaps we exaggerate a bit. Then again, Public Knowledge never said in its testimony as AT&T attributed to us, that we wanted AT&T to “promptly shut down” its old, inefficient networks, thus stranding millions of customers and wrecking the wholesale market.
What we said was that AT&T was, by its own admission, using spectrum inefficiently by having multiple networks that that perhaps it should migrate some customers from 2G to 3G. The easiest way to do that is to give people new phones. A problem, you say? AT&T right now is giving away 3G phones to customers who sign up for service. They are selling others for the low, low price of one cent. How do we know this? Because those prices are plastered all over AT&T’s web site.
Obviously, AT&T has migrated customers before, or else all would be on the original cell service. And, AT&T has plans to migrate customers again. Remember, it promised that it would use the spectrum it gets from T-Mobile to improve its service. What will happen to the people already using that spectrum, those current T-Mobile customers? Who knows? Chances are they might need new phones also.
So, to those customers who were scared off by AT&T’s post warning that their new android tablets would be relegated to the dust bin, never you mind. AT&T doesn’t need Public Knowledge to relegate them. AT&T can do it on its own, while wiping out a national competitor which has no data caps and which demonstrably has a faster network.
And just for the record, AT&T’s second blog post in the series, on the economics of backhaul traffic, wasn’t that great, either. That post said that Clearwire, a wireless company just getting started, is a substitute for AT&T and Verizon when it comes to supplying high-capacity lines to other telecom carriers and big businesses.
Here’s what the NoChokePoints coalition, which aims to reduce the outrageous prices AT&T charges for those “special access” services, had to say:
“AT&T is exactly right in referring to its post on special access as ‘episode two of our miniseries,’ because you only find this kind of reality on TV. The high-speed “special access” broadband lines upon which the entire broadband economy depends are already under the thumb of AT&T and Verizon, to the tune of well over 80% in most markets. Losing T-Mobile as a major competitor and purchaser of the few alternative special access circuits available only makes a very bad thing that much worse, by making it impossible for any competitor to survive in already toxic, anti-competitive market.”