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Posts Tagged ‘AT&T’

C Spire pleased with decision by FCC to block AT&T/T-Mobile merger

November 23rd, 2011 Comments off

Executives with C Spire were pleased with the news from Tuesday that the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission took steps  to block the proposed $39 billion merger of the mobile phone companies AT&T and T-Mobile USA.

“We are pleased the FCC has taken this important step toward a formal, administrative hearing to resolve questions regarding AT&T’s claims regarding its takeover of T-Mobile,” Eric Graham, vice president of Strategic and Government Relations for C Spire Wireless, told the Mississippi Business Journal. “C Spire Wireless has long asserted that this acquisition would be harmful to competition, the wireless industry and consumers. This action shows that Chairman Genachowski — like the Department of Justice — recognizes the harm inherent in AT&T’s bid to eliminate a competitor from the marketplace.”

>> SEE RELATED STORY: Judge approves C Spire lawsuit

>> SEE RELATED STORY: iPhone a coup for C Spire

>> SEE RELATED STORY: C Spire reveals iPhone plan

>> SEE RELATED STORY: Competitors react to C Spire’s deal with Apple for iPhone

The chairman, Julius Genachowski, made the move after the commission’s staff concluded that the deal would harm consumers, kill jobs and result in an overly concentrated wireless phone industry, F.C.C. officials said.

The decision puts another large roadblock in front of AT&T, the nation’s second-largest wireless phone company, in its effort to buy T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier. In August, the Justice Department filed a federal antitrust lawsuit to block the merger, saying it would stifle competition.

Mr. Genachowski on Tuesday notified the other three F.C.C. commissioners that he intended to refer the proposed merger to an administrative law judge for a trial-like hearing in which AT&T would be required to show that the deal was “in the public interest.” The commission — currently composed of three Democrats, including Mr. Genachowski, and one Republican — is likely to vote on the chairman’s plan in the next couple of weeks, an agency official said.

Despite news of Iris, Apple’s iPhone 4S still a coup for C Spire

October 21st, 2011 1 comment

Boy just when you thought you had things figured out, a girl named Iris kicks you in the teeth,

With everyone in Mississippi and beyond jumping up and down about Apple’s new iPhone 4S now being a part of the C Spire stable, you would think nothing could keep folks from smiling.

Then along came Iris. One of the cool things about the iPhone 4S was Siri. That’s  the natural languages understanding app with the cool woman’s name and voice that answers your questions and is supposed to be the advantage that the iPhone 4S has, not only over other models of the iPhone, but every other mobile device on the planet.

But according to a recent report, a programmer spent just eight hours creating a similar app for the Android phone. Oh, and he named her Iris.

But that doesn’t mean Ridgeland-based C Spire’s announcement this week that the country’s eighth-largest phone company will start selling the iPhone 4S in a few weeks isn’t big news. It’s still a huge deal, and it still gives it a bigger edge over its major competitors in Mississippi — AT&T and Verizon. However, what it does do is make you realize the difference in the technology world between good and great isn’t very far apart.

Having said that, Apple still developed the technology first and delivered it first with the iPhone 4S.

And that means Apple is still the king of the mountain, because even more important a tech guy that can roll out a look-alike app in eight hours, is someone at the top of the organization with vision.

That’s what the Android makers are missing.

At the end of the day, Android is still playing catch-up to the iPhone 4S.

In a week when the little phone company from Mississippi got the attention of the nation’s tech business watchers, C Spire comes out on top, having shown its own unique vision for the future.

I say more towers and fewer land lines

April 25th, 2011 Comments off

As an iPhone user, the news that AT&T is expanding and upgrading its wireless network in Mississippi is more than great, it is ….
Oh, sorry, I had a dropped call.
You get the point.
Even AT&T Mississippi CEO Mayo Flynt admitted to the Mississippi Business Journal a few months back that even he has a hard time with reception from time to time. He says his home is at the bottom of a hill, which leads to reception issues.
The company said in a statement last week that it plans to add 50 cell sites in the state in 2011. More than 100 existing cell sites will be upgraded and capacity will be enhanced at sites across the state.
In 2010, AT&T says it added 50 new cell sites in Mississippi and upgraded some 90 existing sites to mobile broadband.
AT&T says the improvements are part of a $19-billion companywide capital investment this year.

Who needs a home phone?
With the news that AT&T is adding towers, which would presumably lead to better reception across the state, why in the world would you want to have a home phone? Well, apparently that is a good question.
In a story from last week, it was reported that a  growing number of Americans are getting rid of their old land line telephones and using only cell phones, a trend led not by the high-tech elite but by people in poorer states trying to save money.
And guess who is leading the way?
You’ve got it.
Mississippi.
Government estimates show at least 30 percent of adults in 10 states rely entirely on cell phones, with the highest percentage in Arkansas and Mississippi, where many cannot afford to pay for two separate lines.
Wealthier households have been slower to use wireless technology as their sole means of making calls.
“The answer’s obvious: No one has money here,” John N. Daigle, a professor of electrical engineering at Ole Miss with broad experience in the telecommunications industry, told the Associated Press. “If they can do without a land line, they will do it to save money.”
Sure, I would do it to save money, too. In fact, we have had that conversation at our house. My wife and I both have cell phones. Everyone who needs to contact us, knows how to.
However, we keep our land line for security system and emergency needs, as well as the convenient daily telemarketer calls at just about the time we are putting a kids to bed.
Clay Chandler, here in our newsroom, recently thought about the same thing in his new home. We talked at length about it. Not because we are poverty stricken — although we do live on journalists salaries — but because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pay for more phones that you really need.
According to the AP story about 35 percent of adults in Mississippi have only cell phones, according to figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In New Jersey and Rhode Island, the states where the smallest proportion of people depend solely on wireless phones, that figure is only 13 percent.
Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation — 21.9 percent in 2009, according to the Census Bureau. The Arkansas figure was 18.8 percent. The nationwide rate is 14.3 percent.
In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau defined poverty as a single person making less than $11,000 a year or a family of four making less than $22,000 a year.
“I think people decide, ‘I can afford one but not the other,’” said Ellen Reddy, who works for a nonprofit community center that helps low-income residents in Holmes County. She said poor people in her area often have cell phones with a limited number of minutes.
Again, however, it comes down to a business decision. You don’t have to be poverty stricken to make a decision to have one phone instead of two.
Sounds like folks in Mississippi, poor or not, have made the right decision.
Now, if we can get those new AT&T towers up quickly, so my wife doesn’t think I have hung up on her while I am driving past Highland Village in Jackson.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.