Print 43 comment(s) - last by cbf.. on Mar 27 at 7:26 PM

Jim Cicconi
AT&T still isn't done badmouthing the FCC

Yesterday, T-Mobile made the decision to axe 1,900 workers in the U.S. Most of the layoffs will come from call centers located in Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.
T-Mobile USA CEO and President Philipp Humm explained, "These are not easy steps to take — or, I know, to read. We must address our business realities so we can focus on getting T-Mobile back to growth."
AT&T, which has a serious axe to grind following the failure of its acquisition of T-Mobile, took the opportunity to kick some mud in the face of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Jim Cicconi, AT&T's Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, made it clear that had the merger gone through, the jobs at T-Mobile's call centers would have been preserved.
"Only a few months ago AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved," Cicconi chided. "We also predicted that if the merger failed, T-Mobile would be forced into major layoffs."
Cicconi didn't stop there, however. He continued his rant against the FCC and didn't hold back any punches:
The FCC argued that the merger would cost jobs, not preserve them, and that rejecting it would save jobs. In short, the FCC said they were right, we were wrong, and did so in an aggressive and adamant way.
Rarely are a regulatory agency’s predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast. But for the government’s decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security.
So what’s the lesson here? For one thing, it’s a reminder of why “regulatory humility” should be more than a slogan. The FCC may consider itself an expert agency on telecom, but it is not omniscient. And when it ventures far afield from technical issues, and into judgments about employment or predictions about business decisions, it has often been wildly wrong. The other lesson is even more important, and should be sobering. It is a reminder that in government, as in life, decisions have consequences.
It's understandable why AT&T is still fuming mad over the loss of T-Mobile. The company had to pay a $4 billion USD "breakup fee" when it decided to walk away from the table after the FCC made it clear that the acquisition wouldn't be approved. For its part, T-Mobile reported that it lost 700,000 customers in Q4 2011. Philipp blamed the lost of customers on its inability to obtain Apple's popular iPhone 4S for its network.

Sources: AT&T, T-Mobile

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RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Reclaimer77 on 3/23/2012 8:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
This is only the start of it though. Without a merger T-Mobile will die. That's a guarantee. Saying the merger wouldn't save "any" jobs probably isn't being realistic either. How can you know that?

The truth is somewhere in the middle. But I have to say, being a longtime hater of the FCC and spirit-crushing regulatory agencies in general, I admire this guy giving them hell over it all the same.

If all of you people on here constantly hating on AT&T wanted to put your money where your mouth is, you would have switched to T-Mobile to prove them wrong. But since you wouldn't do that, for obvious and understandable reasons, I say let the market decide. Not big government.

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Brazos on 3/23/2012 9:11:18 PM , Rating: 4
That's why I'm still with T-Mobile. Vote with your pocketbook.

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Diablobo on 3/23/2012 9:27:48 PM , Rating: 5
If it were up to the market, we would have an even more monopolistic cell phone industry landscape than we already do, with the correspondingly higher prices, lower service, and lesser technology.
All that this free market versus big government talk signifies, is a decision to let unelected, corporate government, accountable only to the shareholders decide the policies and prices for an entire country, rather than elected, representative government accountable to the voters. How much are all these small, weak government idiots getting paid to sell us out to the corporations? They aren't going to pay us near enough to make up for the loss of services the government provides and we have to pay rent to the corporations for everything that we need.

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Ringold on 3/24/2012 2:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
rather than elected, representative government accountable to the voters.

Lol, and history shows us government is incredibly good at innovation and growth, right?

There's one reason government needs to be involved in wireless and one reason only: natural barriers to entry for the market. Specifically, spectrum. It lends itself to a natural monopoly if left to its own market devices, and monopolies, just like the governments you seem to have an affinity for, are slow to innovate, slow to update, slow to respond to changing customer desires, etc. Forcing a minimum level of competition in wireless keeps the gears of enterprise turning as competitive pressures force them to keep moving on all fronts.

Further, shareholders are owners, and they do elect who they desire to manage their assets for them, no different then a family business may hire a manager for the family shop, etc. So, they're not unelected, you simply don't have direct say in something you don't own, which is how it should be, just as you have little say in what your neighbor does to his home, car, etc.

You started off in the right direction with your post, but went way too far to the left, blasting companies and seemingly raising governments, who have awful incentives and past behavior themselves, as somehow superior. I think the whole problem with liberals is the naive belief that government is benevolent.

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Diablobo on 3/25/2012 6:33:32 AM , Rating: 4
Lol, and history shows us government is incredibly good at innovation and growth, right?

Your ignorance and/or denial of the role that the U.S. government has played in the innovation and growth of infrastructure and technology is astonishing. Who do you think was the primary or sole funding and driving force behind most of what we have today and will in the future? Pharmaceuticals are mostly developed from research done at publicly funded universities, and in the past were almost exclusively researched by the military. Almost every transportation technology was developed by the military. The wiring of rural areas with electrical power lines and telephony was done by the government. The internet we are currently using right now was a Dept. of Defense project. Ever heard of DARPANET? Don't even mention all the spinoff tech from NASA.

If we don't have a say in a company that uses something that belongs to everyone (spectrum leased by the government) because we don't own a share in the company, then by that logic, only landowners should get to vote in political elections. They gave up trying that scam a long time ago. Maybe you should too.

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Reclaimer77 on 3/25/12, Rating: -1
RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Ringold on 3/25/2012 7:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but were you saying something?

Nah, thats all he's really got. He thinks contract law and property rights and the constitutional limits on government power are all out-dated concepts. Government should run it all, since India's license Raj did such a fantastic job growing India prior to the 90s, or the Soviet Union's incredible success.

Not to even mention Cuba or North Korea!

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Ringold on 3/25/2012 6:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
Your ignorance and/or denial of the role that the U.S. government has played in the innovation and growth of infrastructure and technology is astonishing.

Derp derp derp.

Never said the government wasn't good at various sorts of research and development that the private sector isn't always capable of undertaking. You're putting words in my mouth, a favorite troll tactic when you've got a weak record to run on yourself. I mention companies providing goods and services, you mention DARPANET. Two entirely different sorts of things. Coming up with DARPANET isn't at all the same as rolling out an ISP in a metro area.

Again, go back to history (you know, the things that happened prior to Bill Clinton). Name some government owned and operated firms in the US that's not a natural monopoly that is world-beating in terms of competitiveness. Even look around the world; government-backed firms often do well thanks to subsidies, government-granted monopolies, etc. State-owned oil companies, with only a few exceptions like Statoil, aren't nearly as effective as their private-sector kin, often hiring Exxon and the like to tell them how they should be doing things. Over the long run, even the most successful state-owned enterprise in history, East India Company, collapses under its own weight and the inherent inefficiencies of mixing state and private sector powers and goals.

As for having a say in what is done with spectrum, again, you have no clue at all what you're talking about; like putting words in ones mouth, thats another plague of liberals like you. Auctions of public resources often come with contractual stipulations pertaining to its use, so the public does have its chance to control how it's used. If they don't live up to how they've agreed to use it, then the government is often within its rights to claw it back, be it spectrum or mineral rights or fisheries. Changing the terms after happily taking investors money is a violation of contract law, which lowers us to the level of communists, fascists and crony-capitalists, something most people have long understood to be a bad thing for an economy. Maybe liberals one day will understand that, too.

Tl;dr: Do you know anything about whats being debated, or you just winging it based on what Bill Maher told you?

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Diablobo on 3/26/12, Rating: 0
RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Reclaimer77 on 3/26/12, Rating: -1
RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Nfarce on 3/26/12, Rating: 0
RE: Not Bloody Likely
By Koyanishi on 3/25/2012 8:29:38 PM , Rating: 1
without government regulation we would be back in the robber baron days when a strong corporation could become a monopoly that is very detrimental to the public good. That's why Teddy
Roosevelt started the break up of the bully corporations and instituted regulations to ensure that such monopolies not again occur.

Unfortunately reagan started the meme that "the government is the problem" and now americans and yourself included, apparently, have accepted this disastrous meme and now we have a government that represents the corporations rather than the people.

Which, by the way, is the reason reagan declared government the problem - that is government is the only entity that has power over the plutocrats and he was representing the plutocrats.

RE: Not Bloody Likely
By nolisi on 3/26/2012 1:29:06 PM , Rating: 2
If all of you people on here constantly hating on AT&T wanted to put your money where your mouth is, you would have switched to T-Mobile to prove them wrong.

I was with T-Mobile before the merger attempt, and am still with them now. I tried AT&T for two years and unless something extraordinary happens, have no desire to return.

I say let the market decide. Not big government.

If you allow the merger to go through, the majority of the market can't decide. Remember, those of us who hold accounts with T-Mobile are a bigger part of the market than AT&T's board of directors who want to see their stock value increase through a merger. But you cut out the ability for the majority of the market to truly make a decision if one company buys out another.

Effectively, it's not a "market" decision- it's a big business decision. Those of us account holders who have supported T-Mobile by giving our business to them were never consulted on this, therefore it does not constitute a market decision.

And given a choice between big business and big government making a decision- I'll take big government each time because there's at least the potential for me to control it with my vote.

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