Monthly Archives: December 2007

Duopoly Fear Factor: Metered Access or a Thousand Flowers

rk_a_thousand_flowers_5315-4_teal_750.jpg EFF mentions “unmetered” once regarding how the duopoly currently says “unlimited” yet stifles BitTorrent or whatever else it thinks is too much.

George Ou flips that one word around: EFF wants to saddle you with metered Internet service. Scary, eh?

You know, I remember real metered pay-per-byte telephone charges, where Ma Bell would charge you a flat rate for the first three minutes and cash in for every minute thereafter, and the European PTTs would also add in exorbitant international fees. That’s not what EFF is recommending. Continue reading

AT&T vs. Apple: iPhone and Maybe 700Mhz

gallery_apple.gif AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson announced next year’s 3G iPhone a few weeks before this year’s iPhone’s likely biggest sales over the holidays:
So what’s up? Was it a simple slip? Or is the guy so out of touch with reality that he doesn’t realize that with a few words he has probably deferred — maybe forever — at least a million new customers worth to Wall Street at least $1 billion in market cap for his company?

I don’t think Stephenson’s statement was by accident and I don’t think he is out of touch with reality. I think, instead, he was sending a $1 billion message to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

When Networks Collide: AT&T suddenly doesn’t like Apple so much. By Robert X. Cringely, Pulpit, PBS, 29 November 2007

Well, it could be either. This is the same AT&T that couldn’t produce its own iPhone and had to make a deal with Apple; AT&T could be so out of touch that it doesn’t know what it’s doing in this announcement. And maybe Stephenson resents that so much that he does want to hurt Apple even if it hurts AT&T. If he thinks he can get away with it, it amounts to the same as being out of touch, because Apple could produce an unlocked iPhone and sell it on all AT&T’s networks, especially if Stephenson gives Jobs enough excuse to break Apple’s contract with AT&T. Or, as Cringely points out, Apple could join Google in bidding for 700Mhz spectrum, or enable its Apple computers for VoIP, or come up with something else that isn’t covered by the existing contract. Jobs and Apple know how to innovate. Telcos don’t. No wonder AT&T is scared.


AT&T, Texas Football, and Legislators

eddierodriguez.jpg AT&T tried to impress Texas legislators by streaming the football game in high definition:
“I’d never seen a football game on a big screen like that. It didn’t look very good.”

—Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, quoted in UNDER THE DOME Most Austin reps skipped football game – and lobby party, W. Gardner Selby, Austin American-Statesman, Saturday, December 01, 2007

I’m not sure AT&T wanted that kind of reaction to watching a Texas football team in Austin, the capital of the second most populous state. The local cableco in Austin, Time Warner, didn’t have the game (Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers), which was on the NFL Network, which has a deal with AT&T. Most legislators didn’t even show up to watch. Interesting, considering that legislators and regulators are the real audience of the duopoly.