Posted by: Bob Quinn on January 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm
Today, we filed comments reaffirming our request to have the FCC conduct geographic trials to oversee the final transition away from the legacy POTS infrastructure that has served this country for more than 100 years. I say the “final transition” because the reality is that the vast majority of consumers have already made this transition. As US Telecom ably documented in its Switched Voice Non-Dominance Petition, the number of consumers who connect to the POTS infrastructure and the use of that infrastructure have plummeted in the last decade. Consumer access lines and minutes of use (MOUs) are down +70% from peak totals as more and more consumers switch to VoIP alternatives (offered by companies who have physical networks as well as over-the-top virtual network service providers), wireless services and other forms of digital communications.
I was fascinated by some of the numbers that US Telecom cited in its petition compared to what we have seen on our side of the POTS business. At the end of 2011, AT&T had just under 19 million consumer switched access lines in service (a nearly 16% decline from YE2010). If that rate of decline continued in 2012 (we will know when our annual report comes out in March), we could cross under 16 million consumer switched access lines in 2012. Skype, on other hand, reported over 20 million US users in 2010 and that business is growing.
These numbers are staggering, but not really surprising. My kids range in age from 16 to 21. I asked them the last time they actually had a conversation on the landline phone in our house to talk to one of their friends (as opposed to wishing Grandma a happy birthday). They laughed. That is a long way of explaining what I mean when I say we need to begin the final transition. One of my colleagues called it “transitioning the last adopters.” That makes sense to me. Even baseball – the sport that cherishes its long-held traditions – has decided to transition away from POTS for its calls to the bullpen.
Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on July 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm
Washington, D.C. – The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) today released a report on government-held spectrum. The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory:
“While we are still reviewing the PCAST report, we are encouraged by the sustained interest in exploring ways to free up underutilized government spectrum for mobile Internet use. However, we are concerned with the report’s primary conclusion that ‘the norm for spectrum use should be sharing, not exclusivity.’ The report fails to recognize the benefits of exclusive use licenses, which are well known. Those licenses enabled the creation of the mobile Internet and all of the ensuing innovation, investment and job creation that followed.
“While we should be considering all options to meet the country’s spectrum goals, including the sharing of federal spectrum with government users, it is imperative that we clear and reallocate government spectrum where practical. We fully support the NTIA effort of determining which government bands can be cleared for commercial use, and we look forward to continuing to work with NTIA and other stakeholders to make more spectrum available for American consumers and businesses.”
Posted by: Joan Marsh on July 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Today, AT&T will file reply comments with the FCC in a proceeding launched to explore interoperability challenges in the lower 700 MHz spectrum bands. Amid the noise of the opening round of comments, fundamental facts have emerged that underscore that the proposed elimination of Band 17 would be profoundly poor public policy.
First, the proposed interoperability mandate sought by some commentators would be pointless. The A Block licensees’ central claim is that they cannot obtain Band 12 devices without a mandate. This claim has now been soundly rebutted. Although the first A Block LTE service was only recently launched, A Block licensees already have access to Band 12 handset, tablet, and hotspot variants of devices first produced for other LTE bands, most significantly, Verizon’s Band 13 LTE devices that fall back to CDMA technologies.
Ignoring that fact, A Block licensees speculate that, absent a regulatory mandate, device manufacturers might not offer them the latest, greatest LTE devices, or might not do so at a reasonable price. That concern too has now been debunked. U.S. Cellular, the only provider currently operating in Band 12, just announced that it is offering a Band 12 variant of Samsung’s newest flagship LTE smartphone – widely considered this summer’s “blockbuster Android smartphone” – at the same time and at the same retail price as AT&T and Verizon. Indeed, Samsung is debuting its Galaxy S III smartphone with five different U.S. providers – each of which uses different spectrum bands. This simply confirms what AT&T has long argued – that LTE deployment in the United States will be a fragmented multi-band exercise that will require multi-band solutions. Both chipset and device manufacturers understand that and are responding.