Tag: att

AT&T kills off first iPhone

apple_iphoneIn an end of an error (surely era Ed.), AT&T has shut down its 2G service and finally killed off the first-generation iPhone.

The 2G shutdown has been planned for a few years  and judging by the lack of outcry from Apple fanboys when the network stopped working there can’t be many people still able to get Steve Jobs’ pivotal shiny toy to go. To be fair it is ten years and Apple normally expects people to replace their phone after one.

AT&T notes that the 2G shut down will free up resources and spectrum bandwidth for the network to use for future rollouts of more advanced wireless solutions like 5G down the line.

Of course, the Apple fanboy could move to Blighty, where 2G is still going. In fact some remote areas are only covered by 2G because it is reasoned that some coverage is better than nothing.

Even within more urban and populated areas that have substantial 3G coverage, there is still a large dependence on the reliability of 2G.

AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner in trouble

animal-memes-how-i-feel-when-i-have-waterproof-phoneIt is starting to look like AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner could fall foul of the White House [shurely Orange House.Ed].

During the election Donald  “Prince of Orange” Trump threatened to block the deal, even though Republicans would traditionally allow corp orates to do what they liked.  It is not clear if the US comedy candidate will follow through on that stance now he actually is in the White House, but there are some fears he might.

Wall Street braced for a drop in deals, with Goldman Sachs on Wednesday projecting a 20 to 30 percent downside for earnings of banks that focus on merger and acquisition advice, and Jefferies saying that uncertainty about Trump’s policy on trade, healthcare, taxes and energy could hamper underwriting activity and M&A globally.

Trump said in October that AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of the owner of HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros film studio was an example of a “power structure” rigged against him and voters, and that he would block a deal.

Still, some investors believed the man who considers himself business friendly would take a more moderate tone than in the campaign once he assumes office, as he did on Tuesday night in his acceptance speech..

The president does not directly decide if a merger is illegal under antitrust law and the job is done by the US Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission, which divide up the work of assessing mergers. If one of the agencies decides to stop a deal, it must convince a judge to agree.

AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens on Wednesday said his company was looking forward to working with Trump and “optimistic” regulators would approve the deal.

Trump’s policies and discussions “about infrastructure investment, economic development, and American innovation all fit right in with AT&T’s goals,” Stephens said at the Wells Fargo technology, media and telecoms conference in New York.

Trump’s protectionist stance also raises the risk that some foreign corporations, including from China, may face higher hurdles in trying to take over American companies, dealmakers said.


AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner worries Washington

monopoly (1)AT&T’s  proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner is worrying US Democrats and Republicans making it more likely that regulators will have a close look at the merger.

The deal announced two weeks before the 8 November election, appears to be a gamble that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will win and continue a hands off policy on antitrust and regulatory enforcement.

The man who wants to be the first Orange president of the US Republican candidate Donald Trump, has said he would block the takeover. He claims the acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN and Warner Bros, Hollywood’s largest film and television studio, would concentrate too much power in one organisation which is not owned by his chum Rupert Murdoch. Trump has not worked out yet that the president has very few powers to block such a merger and it is actually the job of the Justice Department.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told reporters on Sunday she had a number of questions and concerns about the deal but there’s still a lot of information that needs to come out before any conclusions should be reached.

AT&T has described the deal as a “vertical merger” because there is no overlap between the two companies and hopes that such a tie-up will get the regulatory green light by the end of 2017.

“Thank you” as US Patent Office trademarks being polite

thankyouA banking giant is squaring off against one of the US’s biggest phone companies  over the right to say “thank you” to its customers after some idiot in the US Patent Office awarded one of them a trademark on the phrase.

Citigroup has a trademark on “THANKYOU” and is currently using it to sue AT&T for using “Thanks”.

Apparently, Citigroup’s lawyers think that customers will be confused by AT&T’s use of the phrase and try to buy banking services from the phone company.  This is “unlawful conduct” amounting to wanton trademark infringement, Citigroup claims in its federal lawsuit.

For a while now Citigroup has been quietly buying trademarks based on the word THANKYOU. These include CITI THANKYOU, CITIBUSINESS THANKYOU. THANKYOU FROM CITI, and THANKYOU YOUR WAY. It has been running a variety of customer loyalty, reward, incentive, and redemption programs (collectively, the “THANKYOU Marks”).

It said that Citigroup’s THANKYOU Marks are widely recognized by the general consuming public as a designation of source for Citigroup’s high quality financial services and customer loyalty, reward, incentive, and redemption programmes.

So if people are saying “Thank you” they are really talking about Citigroup loyalty rewards because the outfit has spent so much marketing the words. Who would have thunk it?

According to the filing:

“AT&T co-branded credit cards, and Citigroup’s concerns regarding AT&T’s proposed trademarks, AT&T launched a customer loyalty program under the trademarks “thanks” and “AT&T thanks” on or about June 2, 2016. 4. AT&T’s use of the “thanks” and “AT&T thanks” trademarks is likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition in violation of Citigroup’s rights. 5. Citigroup therefore seeks to enjoin AT&T’s infringing conduct and to recover damages based on the injury AT&T’s conduct has caused to Citigroup as well as AT&T’s unjust enrichment.”

All thanks to some idiot in the USPO, someone should send him or her a Thank you card and sit back and watch as the Citigroup’s lawyers feed.

4G data traffic to dominate the market

base stationAdoption of 4G data services is eclipsing  revenues from mobile voice revenues, which are in decline.

And it won’t be long before the difference between 4G and 3G widens to such an extent that by 2020 the newer standard dominates the market.

A report from ABI Research said that in 2020, 4G data traffic will hit 224.7 exabytes and represent 79 percent of total data consumption.

Realising the revenue opportunities for data, mobile operator are “sparing no effort” to cover customers to 4G networks, said Marina Lu, a research analyst at ABI.

She said they’re doing that by offering attractive tariff plans and quick update services.

“In addition, the richer content services including HD video, lossless music and high speed games are in great demand, boosting data service revenues,” she said.

Last year, China Mobile made the best gross profit, followed by Verizon and AT&T.

Lu said that in its first year of commercialisation of LTE/4G, China Mobile moved from being voice centric to being more data centric.

Verizon moved to plans which encouraged people to shift to data enabled services as part of their package.

Facebook can lead to car crashes

AT&T's It can wait campaignAT&T surveyed 2,067 people in the USA and found nearly four in 10 people use social media while they’re driving.

And, worse than that, three in 10 people surf the net while they’re driving while one in 10 use video chat.

Overall, the AT&T survey showed seven out of 10 people use their smartphone while they’re at the wheel and while texting and emailing continue to be the most prevalent, 25 percent of the people surveyed use Facebook. And one in seven use Twitter.

AT&T wants people to be aware that such distractions can cause serious road accidents. It said that Twitter will work with AT&T to deliver messages about how dangerous it is to use smartphones on the road.

AT&T said it is cooperating with transport departments in various states in the USA to reduce crashes caused by smartphone driving abuse.

World spent $895 billion on technology

honeypotA survey by IDC estimated that total spend on IT during 2014 amounted to a staggering $895 billipn.

The top three spenders were grocers Wal-Mart, the Bank of America Corporation, Citigroup, AT&T and JP Morgan Chase.

The survey said nine out of 10 spenders spent more in 2014 than 2013, with companies allocating as much of a third of their tech spending on internal IT, telecommunications, and telecoms staff and related benefits.

The research is based on a rolling analysis of over 2,600 business entities worldwide, and IDC’s definition of IT includes hardware, software, services, telecoms and internal IT spend.

Unfortunately, IDC did not supply the names of the IT vendors who serviced and supplied the top 10 honeypot spenders.

Wingnuts pushed telco towards censorship of Al Jazeera

Right-wing nuts leaned on AT&T to block an affiliation agreement with Al Jazeera America.

The accusation comes in an ironically heavily censored description of the alleged “bad faith scheme” which has been presented to court.

Al Jazeera said that the deal was blocked because of AT&T’s subscriber base in conservative states such as Texas.

Apparently AT&T was worried that honouring the contract to Al Jazeera would lose it the support of its conservative customers and began try and find an excuse to unilaterally terminate the Affiliation Agreement.

Al Jazeera America launched last week but AT&T’s U-verse pay-TV service did not carry the network.

AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel said that Al Jazeera has mischaracterised the facts. He said that Al Jazeera had messed around and AT&T terminated the agreement and will no longer carry Current TV on U-Verse.

Al Jazeera has had a lot of trouble getting distributors in the US. This is because it was perceived by some as being anti-American during the Iraq war. During the war, while many US channels were treating the war like a fixed sports match, Al Jazeera was providing balanced coverage.

Before AT&T’s announcement, Al Jazeera America said it would be available to more than 40 million people and roughly half the reach of Time Warner CNN.

Al Jazeera’s lawsuit wants the court to declare AT&T to be in material breach of the affiliation agreement, ordered to honour the agreement and write a big cheque.

It also said that AT&T was aware that Al Jazeera would be offering a new news and information service that would replace the Current service, and that it would be called ‘Al Jazeera America’.

After the merger Al Gore would no longer be an equity holder or director of Current, or have any “other involvement with Current or Al Jazeera,” the lawsuit states. 

Jury convicts Goatse Security iPad hacker

Hacker Andrew Auernheimer has been found guilty of breaking into AT&T’s servers and stealing the email addresses and other personal data of about 120,000 Apple iPad users.

According to Associated Press, Auernheimer, 27, was found guilty of conspiracy to access the servers without permission, as well as identity theft.

According to US Attorney Paul Fishman, the hacker faces a maximum five years in prison and $250,000 fine on each count. A co-defendant, Daniel Spitler, pleaded guilty to the same charges in June 2011 and is awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors told the court that Auernheimer and Spitler were famous for their hacks and getting the word Goatse into the mainstream press.

The pair formed Goatse Security which was a group that tried to disrupt online content and services.

The attack, which embarrassed Apple and AT&T at the time, showed up the fairly weak security that both were using.

The hackers used an “account slurper” that was designed to match email addresses with “integrated circuit card identifiers” for iPad users.

They then used a  brute force attack to extract data about those users to identify their email addresses and favourite Coldplay songs.

They then turned the information to Gawker, which published an article naming the rich and famous who were using the service. This included ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Tor Ekeland, a lawyer for Auernheimer, said his client planned to appeal the verdict to the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Auernheimer’s defence covered an argument over what constitutes unauthorised access to a computer under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The prosecutors’ interpretation of that federal law was “extremely expansive”, he told the court.

The jury did not find it that difficult. It only thought about the matter for a couple of hours.

After the hacking, Apple and AT&T shut off the feature that allowed email addresses to be obtained. 

iPhone subsidies hurting wireless carriers

Subsidising the iPhone is proving to be the kiss of death for any carrier who touches it.

While we have reported before how AT&T did not do as well from the iPhone as many had expected, it turns out that the other telcos who subsidise Jobs’ Dream are also suffering.

CNN has looked closely at the effect that iPhone subsidising has had on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint and come to the conclusion that they would have been better off in a pact with Mephistopheles than cutting a deal with Apple.

Since Apple’s iPhone debuted on Verizon’s network in February 2011, Verizon’s EBITDA service margin, which measures their core profit as a percentage of their sales, has tumbled according to CNN.

In its pre-Apple days Verizon had a EBITDA service margin of 46.4 percent per quarter. In the first quarter that the iPhone went on sale, that fell to 43.7 percent. Last quarter, when Verizon sold a record 4.2 million iPhones, its margin plunged to 42.2 per cent.

Tellingly, Verizon did very well in the third quarter, when its margin bounced back up to a record 47.8 percent. This is the same quarter in which iPhone sales stalled.

AT&T has a 28.7 percent EBITDA service margin last quarter, compared with 37.6 percent a year earlier. AT&T sold nearly twice as many iPhones as Verizon last quarter.

Sprint sold two million iPhones last quarter, and its adjusted wireless margin fell to 9.5 percent, down from 16 percent a year ago.

Mike McCormack, an analyst at Nomura Securities, told CNN that the iPhone was bad for wireless carriers. If you look at the direct and indirect economics that Apple has managed to extract from the carriers, the carrier-level value destruction is quite evident, McCormack said.

All smartphones are subsidied to some extent but those on the iPhone are the highest in the industry. It is estimated that for every iPhone sold, the carriers have had to give Apple $450.

Sprint has committed to paying Apple roughly $15.5 billion in up front costs over the next four years, and the carrier does not expect to make money on the deal until 2015.

The hope is that somehow the companies will make money out of Apple, but everytime Cupertino has a success, the carrier’s results suffer.

At the end of the day, part of this problem is that they have refused to back away from their lock-in deals with Apple or at least force the company to be a little more reasonable. Apple has no reason to give way. An unsubsidised iPhone would have to be unlocked, and besides, it would cost about $800-$1000.