Here’s a new twist to AT&T’s T Mobile acquisition announcement: Death by FUD. Regardless of the outcome after regulators have blessed or killed it, the announcement has already hit T Mobile subscribers with a strong dose of fear, uncertainty and doubt. This is clearly demonstrated by data that shows an exodus of customers:
T-Mobile, the smallest of the four national carriers, lost a net 471,000 subscribers on contract-based plans. It was able to add subscribers through wholesalers, who pay much less than contract-signing customers, but it still lost 99,000 overall. Both figures are record losses for T-Mobile, the Bellevue, Wash.-based subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany.
“There’s no bright spot in these numbers,” said Roger Entner, a telecommunications analyst at Recon Analytics.
T-Mobile’s quarterly revenue fell to the level it was at three years ago, just before it got a boost by buying a small regional carrier. In the same period, AT&T’s wireless revenue grew 29 percent (it, too, was aided by some minor acquisitions). (Yahoo)
TMobile has been AT&T’s most annoying competitor. The worst of the bad blood came with AT&T’s exclusive on the iPhone. While it was never announced as policy, TMobile did nothing to prevent jailbroken iPhones from operating on its network. TMobile has also be the most aggressive fo the 4 major wireless providers in price cutting. Those two facts alone makes the removal of #4 from the marketplace very attractive to AT&T.
Does AT&T really intend to complete the takeover? Probably. The fact remains that the infrastructure it would gain could be built new more cheaply. AT&T is already the nations #1 spectrum holder. It should have more than enough airspace if it would add a few towers and beef up its backhaul. After a year or more of deliberation T Mobile’s customer base could be decimated. If the AT&T deal dies, T Mobile could be forced to liquidate. That would give AT&T access to the pieces of the company that it could benefit from the most and take down its pestiest competitor in a single event. Buy or no buy AT&T wins and the consumer loses. It should be a crime.
Today AOL announced layoffs. That’s pretty normal post merger behavior for a company that just took over another large concern. It’s also pretty normal for a company transitioning from infrastructure operator to content provider. I think there are signs of big trouble ahead between the lines in this announcement. AOL just spent $315 million to acquire the Huffington Post. While that property does bring traffic, it also brings new liabilities in that HuffPo has never made money. AOL also gave editorial control to Huffington whose lack of excellence in that capacity is legendary. This could tarnish AOL’s nearly squeaky clean journalistic reputation – potentially scaring away advertisers. Other questionable plans include replacing content generating freelancers with salaried staff and growing the size of that staff. While AOL can tout that it’s bucking trends, 3500+ employee content companies are no longer a business model that works. Proof is everywhere from local newspapers, magazines and even mega portals like Yahoo.
At one time, AOL could have leveraged itself to be an alternative broadband provider. It would have required monumental effort in battling the telcos and cable guys, but it could have secured a better future. Even the cable guys are coming to terms with the reality that the big, closed, vertically structured content model is doomed. Sadly for AOL, it chose the impossible task of trying to take control a big chunk of a very crowded space instead of playing in an arena with one or two price gouging competitors.
Did you know that data comm billing can ruin your love life?
A Toronto woman says the billing practices of Rogers Wireless Inc. led to her husband discovering her extramarital affair.
Now the woman, whose husband walked out, is suing the communications giant for $600,000 for alleged invasion of privacy and breach of contract, the results of which she says have ruined her life.
In 2007, Gabriella Nagy had a cellphone account with Rogers which sent the monthly bill to her home address in her maiden name. Her husband was the account holder for the family’s cable TV service at the same address. Around June 4, 2007, he called Rogers to add internet and home phone.
The following month, Rogers mailed a “global” invoice for all of its services to the matrimonial home that included an itemized bill for Nagy’s cellular service, according to the statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
When Nagy’s husband opened the Rogers invoice, he saw several hour-long phone calls to a single phone number.
“Nobody does business this way and he’s not stupid,” says Nagy, who is in her 30s. He called the number, spoke to the “third party” who confirmed the affair, which had lasted only a few weeks, Nagy told the Star.
“My husband didn’t tell me that’s how he found out, he just left.”
Moral of the story — Don’t cheat AND if you are going to, then at least have the smarts to order a separate phone AND carrier!
Intuit has pretty much created a person and small business software monopoly with it’s Quicken and Quickbooks products. Startup Mint blasted onto the scene with a free web based service that was easier to use and didn’t nickel and dime users to death like Quicken. While no one is talking about how much market share Mint took from Quicken,it’s obvious that Intuit saw it as a serious threat to its personal finance monoculture.
Intuit has announced that it is purchasing online personal finance rival Mint for $170 million. That is no small change for the free personal finance service named one of The 100 Best Products of 2008 by PC World.
Intuit has long dominated the world of personal finance software with Quicken in all of its flavors. Microsoft Money was its primary competitor, but Microsoft bailed out of the personal finance software market earlier this year. (PC World)