Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘att

Game of Phones

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Today many eyes will be turned to Cupertino for Apple’s fall launch event.  But one of Apple’s original iPhone telco providers is where the heat is actually getting turned up.

Hedge fund Elliott Management has taken a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T, and is raising questions about the company’s M&A strategy and operational execution. In a letter to the company, Elliott has called for new board members and an assessment as to the capabilities of the existing leadership team, including CEO Randall Stephenson.

According to a report from CNBC, Elliott cited “the company’s history of questionable acquisition decisions, including buying DirecTV and Time Warner…In all, AT&T has spent about $200 billion in recent years on acquisitions.”

DirecTV’s price was $67B, Time Warner $104B, and T-Mobile slipped through Stephenson’s finger even as he has tried to pivot the company towards both a wireless and media company. 

But millions of subscribers have left DirecTV since the deal close in 2015, and as for the Time Warner deal outcome, it’s probably too soon to tell. For a good signal, I would suggest keeping an eye on the quality of the emerging HBO lineup, the TV canary in the proverbial wireless coalmine. 

Written by turbotodd

September 10, 2019 at 9:40 am

Posted in 2019, apple, att, smartphones

Tagged with , , , ,

AT&T’s 5G Rollout

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Getting ready for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, much?

Apparently AT&T is.

According to Engadget, AT&T is starting to show its hand on its 5G rollout, having confirmed that parts of Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco, Texas will be the first to adopt the next gen mobile technology by the end of this year.

That is expected to be followed by nine other yet-to-be-publicly-named cities in coming months.

Engadget reports that AT&T’s initial 5G coverage will use "millimeter wave" spectrum, which is very high frequency but apparently not great for range. Greater range will only come later when AT&T moves its 5G to more commonly used bands.

"Can you hear me now?" Oh, wait, sorry, that’s Verizon.

TechCrunch also reported this story, and spoke with an AT&T exec about the rollout:

“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G – and do it much sooner than most people thought possible,” said Igal Elbaz, SVP of Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T.

The roll-out is ahead of availability of consumer 5G devices. It’s a chicken and egg problem. Both hardware makers and wireless carriers need to closely time launching 5G devices and networks so the return on investment is maximized. If one launches significantly early or late, the other will suffer. There’s a good chance major hardware makers will announced some of the first 5G devices next week at Mobile World Congress.

​Did you hear that pin just drop?


Todd "Turbo" Watson
Blog: www.turbotodd.com
Email: toddhttp://about.me/toddwatson

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2018 at 9:13 am

Posted in 2018, 5G, telecommunications

Tagged with ,

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: IBM Announces New Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics Capabilities

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Earlier today, here at the IBM InterConnect event being held at the Royal Sentosa Resorts in Singapore, IBM made two significant announcements that will help IBM clients derive more value from their IT investments via improved cloud computing solutions, even as they work to gain new business insights through enhanced analytics capabilities.

To help global organizations make sense of the massive influx of data being created daily, IBM first announced an expansion of its PureSystems family of expert integrated systems with the introduction of PureData System.

Now, clients can more efficiently manage and quickly analyze petabytes of data in minutes and intelligently use those insights to support specific business goals across their organization including marketing, sales and business operations.

IBM estimates that 2.5 exabytes of data is created every day — so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

Given this data deluge, clients can use the new PureData System for high performance data services for traditional or cloud environments. The new system builds on the initial PureSystems family of offerings that can deploy Web applications in less than 10 days, a task that once took at least six months. The PureSystems family is the result of $2 billion in R&D and acquisitions over four years.

PureData System will start shipping to customers at the end of October.  For more information about these offerings, visit the IBM PureSystems PureData Website.

IBM Partners With AT&T On Expanded Cloud Computing Capabilities

IBM also announced today that it had partnered with global telecommunications leader AT&T to deliver a highly secure, first-of-its-kind “network-enabled” cloud service that uses private networks rather than the public Internet.

The companies are combining AT&T virtual private networking and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise cloud capabilities with breakthrough technology from AT&T Labs to create a new, fast and highly-secure shared cloud service.

Targeted to Fortune 1000 companies globally, the service will be offered in early 2013 as a powerful new option for clients who are deploying cloud solutions that demand high levels of security and availability. Many businesses often cite security as a key inhibitor to cloud computing adoption.

You can learn more about this new cloud capability here.

The Turbo Android

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A few weeks ago I blogged about breaking up with AT&T, which meant my iPhone would become an expensive and glorified iPod.

Turbo debriefs on his recent transition from iPhone to Android...and buys the most expensive product he's ever acquired from a vending machine.

That’s okay, you can never have too many iPods lying around.

But, I also promised to come back and tell, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

So after AT&T couldn’t or wouldn’t offer me any relief for my cracked iPhone (which also froze for a full 24 hours), I broke up and decided to try something new.

Not because I didn’t like my iPhone…there were lots of things to like about it…except for the bill I got every month, one at an average of $90/month that yet had a cap for both phone and data usage.

I ended up heading out to Best Buy after first doing a little online research, and I decided that a no-contract phone was my best option, but there were several providers. At the Best Buy, a sales associate explained that he thought Virgin Mobile had the best deal, because for only $35 a month, I could get unlimited data (and 300 voice minutes), and if I so desired, could upgrade to $45/month with 1200 minutes and unlimited data, and $55/month for unlimited of both.

Where do I sign?

My fatal mistake, however, was to accept his first recommendation on the device, a Samsung Intercept that looked great, but was not less filling.  It was an early Android release, it seemed to have the RAM of a 1986 386 box, and I couldn’t even take phone calls on it reliably.

After two weeks of trial usage, I went back to the same Best Buy and explained what a piece of junk phone they had sold me, and that I wanted something better.  A new clerk helped me settle on a Motorola Triumph, which I’ve been very happy with (save for the anemic battery life — I have to charge it twice a day if I talk on it with any frequency).

No doubt, I was an irresponsible consumer when I decided so quickly and without much research on the new phone.  However, the shift to Android has been a blessing in disguise.

Let me explain: As much as I liked the tightness of the iPhone/iTunes platform, and the quality of the apps, I could feel myself becoming more and more confined. This isn’t about the device anymore: It’s about access to information and services in the cloud.

For as long as I can remember, mobile phones, smart or otherwise, have become a real pain when it comes to contact management.  With both Androids, that problem was solved on setup: I simply synched with my Gmail contacts, and I was done.  Now, I can add a contact to my phone and have it synched up with the Google cloud and not worry about where I’m going to enter the information.

Similarly, my Google calendar is now pervasive across all my computers, tablets, and, now, my phone.  Why? Simple, because of that cloud connection.  Yes, iCloud may NOW be providing some of these capabilities, but at the price, and with the promise of being in a more open operating ecosystem, I would argue I’ve become much more productive because these simple but often confounding necessities like contact management have become so much easier via Android.

Of course, that includes the synergy I have between my MacBook Air and the Google cloud as well.

As for Virgin Mobile, so far, I don’t have enough good things to say.  I’m able to “top off” my service using a credit card on a monthly basis, and, depending on my schedule, decide whether or not I want to spend $35, $45, or $55 for a month’s worth of service, as opposed to the $90+ my AT&T service was costing.

Furthermore, the Virgin Mobile web site makes it easy for self-service provisioning and account management.  I always liked the way Richard Branson did business — now I have proof why. From his airlines to his mobile phone service, he focuses on the consumers’ needs.

I was so pleased with Android, I stopped and purchased the single most expensive item I’ve ever acquired from a vending machine (this one from Best Buy), an HTC Flyer tablet.  Though it, too, has some battery issues, I’m finding it to be an also very useful and productivity-enhancing tablet experience. Not necessarily as “clean” as the iPad experience, but easy enough to master and use for everything from my corporate email to blogging to reading books to watching Netflix…And it’s only 7″, as opposed to my original iPad.

Geek that I am, I will likely continue using devices across both platforms — you’ll pry my MacBook Air out of my cold, dead hands.  But the Android smartphone experience is proving quite useful, and in the process I’m becoming more familiar with an increasingly relevant platform that, until a month ago, I was only vaguely familiar with.

And did I mention Madden NFL 2011 plays beautifully on the HTC Flyer???

Breaking Up With AT&T

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I have some really sad news.

After four+ years of a sometimes tumultuous, sometimes steady, relationship, I broke up with AT&T last night.

Break ups are always difficult, but this one really came from the gut and didn’t take a lot of doing.  It was an act of passion, if you will.

What led to the break up was this: My iPhone froze up.  I had dropped the iPhone over Christmas, and cracked the screen just mildly, but discovered to my chagrin when I went to the AT&T store that I had not bought the phone insurance.

I found that hard to believe. I ALWAYS buy that insurance. For my Macs, for my phones…it’s just generally been a good investment, at least for me.

No, nada.  Which meant I couldn’t get my phone fixed or replaced.

Fine.  I’ll live with the cracked screen.

But then yesterday, iPhone 4 froze up on me.  It wouldn’t unfreeze.  It was locked.  Like, frozen in time.  No off button worked. No reboot.

So I went surfing around AT&T’s site, and found I could get an iPhone 4S for like $500.  Or an iPhone 4 for about $400.

Are you kiddin’ me?

I called the AT&T guy. Hector, let’s call him.  Hector was very nice, but after looking up my information, explained I wasn’t due for an upgrade until April.

“Okay,” I said politely. What are my options?

“Well, what do you mean?”

Uh oh.  We’ve got an Einstein on the line!

“Uh, regarding my phone. What are my options? Can I get a replacement iPhone, can I get a phone to tide me over until I’m eligible for an upgrade, what?”

He explained my upgrade date wasn’t until April, and because I had no insurance, there was no way of replacing my iPhone without paying several hundred dollars.  Which I had already done.

“Are you sure there’s nothing you can do?” I asked.  I could feel myself stepping up to the precipice. Now the question was whether or not I was prepared to leap.  My blood started simmering.  All those iPhone apps I’d bought.  All that time I’d spent tuning the iPhone.

I didn’t care.

“How much would it cost to buy out of the contract?”

He paused.  “Mr. Watson, we don’t…”

“How much!?”

“$185,” he seemed to say reluctantly.

I was ready to jump.  I didn’t know what was at the bottom, but I didn’t care.  This wasn’t a rational decision, mind you.  But just this one customer experience, combined with all the other times I’d been put on hold by AT&T, asked to wait and wait and wait…No, we’re done, baby.  It’s OVER.

“Do it,” I said.  He tried to intervene.  “Do it now, please.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Watson.”

Finally, some respect.

He assured me my number would be retroactively portable. I wanted to explain I would retroactively not be an AT&T customer again anytime soon.

So, it was time to go phone shopping.  WOO HOO, I get to go buy something new.  That always feels GREAT after a breakup!

I started hopping around Web sites: Verizon, Sprint, Tracphone…I was convinced I didn’t want a monthly contract anymore.  I was paying roughly $70 a month to AT&T, getting 450 minutes and 200MB of data. By God, I have more worth than that!

My one criteria was I didn’t want to worry about how much data I used.  I was ready to go on a data consumption binge!

Voice minutes, I didn’t need a lot of.  People really don’t like talking to me.

So I set out for my local Best Buy.  I needed some face-to-phone shopping time.

I looked in the “No Contract” phone section, and my only other demand was I have some sort of semblance of a smartphone.  I was checking out some LG Androids when a sales guy told me to go with Virgin Mobile.

“Why?” I asked.

“Unlimited data,” he said.  For $35 a month.  I almost started laughing right there in the store.  $35 a month?  Unlimited text messaging and Web data?

“Yeah, and if you want to top up and get unlimited voice, it’s only $20 more.  And no contract.”

Ah, I see. That’s why they call it the “No Contract” section!

Breaking up with AT&T was already paying for itself and I hadn’t even gotten a new phone yet!

For you MBA students out there, here’s what AT&T lost: A valued customer who had on several occasions spent more than $300 in roaming international data fees per month, who paid their bill regularly, and who spent nearly $100 a month for his phone service for years!

I figured all in, AT&T had generated at least $6,000 of revenue off me thus far, and averaging out at $70 month for the next 20 years, you were still talking about $25,200 in lost potential revenue.

Let’s call it an even $30,000.  They call it “lifetime customer value.”

That’s okay.  I call having no contract “Freedom.”

Freedom, of course, may not be entirely free, but’s one helluva lot cheaper at Virgin Mobile and it doesn’t come with any shackles!

As for what phone I got…well, we’ll just have to reserve that for another post.  I need to go spend some time alone…learning how to use Android.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

TurboTech Podcast: Irene, AT&T v. DOJ, Fraud Detection, & Facebook v. Google+

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Scott Laningham and I got together recently for Round 2 of “TurboTech,” our new video podcast focusing on all things tech and Internets.

For this week’s episode, Scott pulled out his stopwatch to time each news segment — whatsa matter buddy, you can’t just come out and tell me I’m longwinded?

I can take a hint.  You’ll also notice that Scott’s intro now also includes his famous Don Pardo-like voiceover: “It’s time for TurboooooTeeecccch!”  It’s simply classic.

On this past week’s agenda: Hurricane Irene, IBM acquisitions in the fraud detection realm, AT&T v. DOJ, and Facebook v. Google+.

Written by turbotodd

September 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Turbo’s New Calling Plan

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I mentioned last week that I broke up with my BlackBerry.

I didn’t mention what was to be my new mobile love.

Because I had to do some speed dating to figure out what was the best way forward.

Many of you have guessed, both on this blog’s home base and out at Internet Evolution.  Some guessed rightly, some wrongly.  I sense a new reality show in the making.

My heart has healed to the point I figured I could tell the whole story without wincing too much.

You have to understand, making a mobile phone selection decision for someone like me is like a pro golfer deciding which line of clubs to use (except they don’t pay me to select their phone!), or a Hollywood starlet trying to decide whose dress to wear on Oscar night.

This is serious stuff.

But first, the breakup.

I’d been a huge fan of my BlackBerry Bold, and prior to that, the Pearl, and had been on the RIM platform for a good four years.

Of course, there was no iPhone or Android when I first went with the Pearl, and there was no other practical way to get on to IBM’s corporate email system with a mobile device, so it was an easy decision at the time.

But a lot’s happened these past four years, and RIM just didn’t seem to be keeping up.  And then, like many a relationships that go south, it was the little things: My browser would hang up, or be too slow.  The operating system would slow down and not let me get to my meeting information quickly.

Like I said, the little things, but they quickly added up.

After the BlackBerry got hung up one too many times after a long bike ride last week, I decided that was it. But not wanting to be without a mobile phone for too terribly long, I needed to make a decision about what to switch to, and quickly.

It was a relatively easy landscape to surf before I narrowed it down: Android v. iPhone.

I loved the idea of having an HTC Android on Sprint at 4G speeds, but I absolutely dreaded the idea of going back to Sprint, where I said would never return as a customer (and so far, I haven’t).

They treated me very badly as a so-called customer several years ago, and I’ve never remotely considered going back into their throes.

That left Droid on Verizon, and iPhone on AT&T.  Because honestly, that’s about the way the mobile decks are currently stacked, at least here in the U.S.

Sure, you can get an Android-based phone on AT&T, but it’s likely an outdated model running a back level version of the Android OS.

So which way did I go and why?

Ultimately, I chose the lesser of two evils: the new Apple iPhone.  And it wasn’t because I liked dealing with AT&T any more than any of the others.

In fact, ordering the iPhone via AT&T was AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE.  I can’t imagine a worse online customer experience.  But I suffered through it, and ultimately ordered the phone through them, even though I was told I’d have to wait 5-10 business days.

Then, AT&T forgot to put my condo unit number on the FedEx ticket, so FedEx couldn’t deliver it.  I could go on and on about what a bad experience I had GETTING the phone.  It’s still amazing to me in this day and age that I can have good money burning a hole in my pocket, and have such difficulty spending it with a vendor, including AT&T/Apple.  But I did.

But once the iPhone arrived via the nice FedEx man on Friday afternoon, heading directly into the Labor Day weekend, the experience I had setting up the new iPhone 4 is precisely WHY I ended up buying the iPhone.

I had the phone activated (without having to speak with a human, mind you), up and running, and with all my Gmail contacts imported — along with all my iPad Touch and iPad apps — loaded into the device in about 20 minutes.


I was making phone calls, sending emails, playing games, listening to music, watching videos, etc. in 20 minutes.  I remember it taking me that long just to get the BlackBerry software loaded, never mind the nightmares I had synching it to my computer.

So, once again, Apple wins on elegance and overall user customer experience (if NOT on customer pre-sales support).  And make no mistake, the iPhone 4 is a technological thing of beauty.

We shall soon see if it can hang with the Turbo on all his worldly travels, but I feel as though I made the correct decision so far.

Though I fear the looming limitations of Apple’s continued proprietary development milieu, and believe that Android is much better suited for the longer-term, open cloud viability that will help mature the mobile phone market, in the near term, for MY purposes and MY current needs, I’ve no doubt that the Apple iPhone was the right choice for me.

Now if I could just find somebody else who has one and try out the new FaceTime mobile videoconferencing feature!

For a summary of my iPhone 4 experience thus far, check out the video below:

Written by turbotodd

September 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm

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