Give up the spectrum or rates go up
AT&T would probably like to put 2011 to rest. Most notably, the year saw the nation’s number two wireless carrier - or as we like to say, Paul - try to acquire T-Mobile - the nation’s number four/Ringo - only to end in a fireball of regulatory failure. And to top it off, Paul owes billions to Ringo for the botched deal. Who shall suffer the wrath of Paul’s scorn (besides the viewers of “Say, Say, Say”)? The Federal Communications Commission, which played the part of evil villain in the merger. In an earning’s call yesterday, AT&T took a jab at the FCC for not making spectrum auctions enough of a priority. From the New York Times: “The company harshly criticized the governmental agency on Thursday for its strict regulations on spectrum. The F.C.C. disputes some of the carrier’s claims.” AT&T desperately needs spectrum, especially if it wants to keep pace with the nation’s number one carrier, Verizon (a.k.a. John).
So what’s it to you? AT&T says that if the FCC doesn’t start up spectrum auctions soon, it’s going to have to raise customer rates and put more restrictions on data-use. Actually, new data rates just went into effect on Sunday, so this could mean even more restrictions.