I just don't get it. What am I missing here. The FCC lets AT&T off the hook when it comes to any real net neutrality conditions (see this post called AT&T Knows When to Fold 'em and comments that follow) and allows the purchase of Bell South to go through. This is definitely not a victory for consumers and can only help the pipe owning RBOCs. What gets me is that the only thing and I mean the only thing that matters is the last mile to the household. And, what this merger does is allow AT&T to buy up more home lines to charge whatever non-competitive rates they want with no repercussions and no reason to go invade other territories.
Back in the day (circa 1998) there were plans for RBOCs to invade LD and for LD companies to invade RBOCs. Not so anymore. You aren't in their territory you get nothing. No offers. No good TV service. Just crappy stand alone DSL or Call Advantage. Don't believe me? See this screen shot for the lovely offers available just 25 miles from the old and better AT&T's HQ and current Verizon HQ. Verizon is worse with only DSL available in my area but because I'm on the border I have some long term hope.
You think you are getting some great smoking Wireless now that the geniuses at the current AT&T are going to rename Cingular to AT&T Wireless? I doubt it especially if you are out of territory. Back when I ran wireless/LD bundle marketing programs for AT&T the reason we did it was that we can offer discounts to keep people on multiple services. The new, new, new gosh we promise we won't do no evil AT&T won't do that unless they already have a pipe into your house. Why? There is no reason that they couldn't have offered something in the past if you were out of territory. This BS mentioned in the article about having a partner was just a convenient excuse to get the deal through - "With full control of cellphone operator Cingular Wireless, formerly a joint-venture with BellSouth, the San Antonio-based phone company will begin selling AT&T-branded wireless services to its large pool of corporate phone and Internet customers, allowing it to offer discounts for bundles that were impossible when Cingular was a separate entity."
Why do I think this is BS? Well back in the early days of bundling, the old AT&T had the same problem in certain regions. I believe we had a deal with Airtouch (might have been PAC Bell - my memory is fading as I approach 40) and I got on the phone to negotiate special offers for our customers in that territory with my Airtouch counterpart who was only too happy to cut a deal to get customers. To top this announcement off, it mentions how AT&T will want to sell advertising on wireless phones which will of course do wonders for reinforcing the previously bad customer service that the old AT&T Wireless name had, especially in the NY Market.
This deal is all about letting the owners of the last pipe to the house, hold on as long as possible until a better service comes along. Meanwhile all the people stuck out of territory,on basic land line service, or further out on the TV roll out schedule get shafted with uncompetitive service and prices until a better day. If the FCC thinks that this deal is ok, then why not let AT&T buy up all of the other RBOCs and let Comcast buy up all the other cable companies? How do you think that will go for consumers?
PardonMy (angry) French