AT&T seems to enjoy playing stupid when they are forced to compete with another company.
For example, shortly after Google announced Google Fiber in Austin, AT&T announced that they too would be offering 1 Gbps “Gigapower” service in the city. AT&T has denied that the move was in any way motivated by Google Fiber, and that AT&T was planning all along to offer 1 Gbps connections but there is no evidence that supports this claim.
Now, AT&T is busy pretending that they haven’t been forced to respond to T-Mobile’s recent pricing and consumer policies:
“The competition is more noisy than disruptive,” claims AT&T CFO John Stephens to a crowd of investors this week, a reference to T-Mobile CEO John Legere. “It doesn’t appear that based on our results, there was much of an impact,” said Stephens, after AT&T made numerous policy and pricing changes to ensure T-Mobile’s impact on the company was minimized. “It’s not something that a company with a best-in-class balance sheet would jump into,” said Stephens of T-Mobile’s offer to pay user ETFs.
Considering T-Mobile added more subscribers last quarter than all three other major carriers combined, it would make sense that a company like AT&T would blow off T-Mobile publicly yet respond to every move they make business-wise.
When T-Mobile started issuing credits to potential customers, AT&T responded to it. When T-Mobile changed their data and voice plans, AT&T responded to it with their “Mobile Share Value Plans.” T-Mobile offers to pay your ETF, AT&T shockingly responds with a similar plan.
“The pressure is evident in the subtle change in how AT&T is reporting its numbers. The company said it added 1.2 million smartphones under contract, an impressive number, but one that includes both upgrades and new subscribers, a relatively new metric that it has rolled out. Typically, a company offers net numbers, or a measure of how many new people signed up for the service when subtracting those that cancelled their service. A company typically doesn’t throw in the number of existing customers that upgraded to a smartphone.”
Several weeks ago, a study on the state of LTE deployments by OpenSignal was released and suggested that T-Mobile offered the fastest LTE experience in the United States. According to OpenSignal, while Verizon still has the largest and best overall LTE footprint, T-Mobile takes the LTE speed crown with an average speed of 11.5 Mbps.
Also, let’s not forget AT&T’s response to net neutrality. Considering AT&T had previously lied to the FCC and Department of Justice about the benefits of their takeover of T-Mobile (more competition, more jobs, spectrum issues will magically be resolved), it should not be that surprising to see AT&T take a rather comical approach to net neutrality in a filing to the FCC.
Ars Technica alerts us to a filing by AT&T in the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” proceeding, AT&T makes the bold claim that by killing off network neutrality laws, AT&T would lower costs for consumers.
In reality, AT&T would never, ever put this type of thing in a contract with the FCC or Department of Justice. If AT&T is given more power in interconnection deals, they will simply raise prices for all involved.