Friday, September 17, 2010

AT&T Accelerates the Spin

Earlier this month, AT&T released a bunch of Public Relations blurbs directed at the small markets they picked up as part of the divestiture of Alltel assets by Verizon Wireless. Now, instead of mid-2011, AT&T claims most of these markets will be operating under the AT&T banner as early as late 2010. Since the GSM network AT&T will use was already constructed and operating by Alltel, we're wondering why it's taking even that long.

Since all that's needed is to update AT&T's data base to include the affected zip codes and the billing data coming from the cell sites, we are led to believe AT&T knew they would be able to offer local service in these Alltel markets fairly quickly. Seeing how excited the local media was in these small markets in reacting to the news, you'd think these small towns were getting electricity for the first time. 'Imagine, the iPhone in Helena, Montana!'

Yes, it's the AT&T PR machine playing us like a Stradivarius. And why shouldn't they? Residents in small towns in the western US have every reason to be excited about going Big Time by having AT&T in the neighborhood. Remember, these people aren't losing a carrier, they're just getting a bigger carrier. There are those us of outside those areas still shaking our heads knowing one less carrier reduces overall competition. Would AT&T have introduced "My Circle?" Be careful what you wish for...


Anonymous said...

AT&T is not going to be using any of the existing GSM network to provide service for it's customers. They are overlaying an entire new UMTS network in all Alltel areas. The GSM will remain but only to continue to provide roaming.

I am a contractor working on this project. AT&T has invested a huge amount of money for infrastructure upgrades in these markets. I hope they do not end up eating their words on this press release because there is a significant amount of work that still needs to be done in places that weather this time of year can big a big problem, like the Dakota's and Montana.

Once this network is installed and optimized I have a feeling that it will out perform any other carrier.

Oz Andrews said...

You are right on the money. The loose end here is that AT&T could start offering their own service much sooner than originally announced using the existing GSM network. It that just might be their "plan B".

Once they get it all upgraded, they will have a great network but it may happen at the expense of service in more populated areas. This is what AT&T thought they had to do to get approval.