Saturday, September 10, 2011

Find: The Future Is Calling, AT&T, And It’s Not T-Mobile

Abell is right: wireless is the new railroad, and where is the new Vanderbilt? Especially in the us. If tmobile is only worth 3b of wireless spending, Att shouldnt even be considering a purchase.

The Future Is Calling, AT&T, And It’s Not T-Mobile


The proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger is shaping up to be an iconic business case saga and a judicial milestone. Who would have thought that nearly 40 years after the U.S. Department of Justice convinced a judge to break up “Ma Bell” that the DoJ might be able to convince another judge to tell that same company you can’t get too big again?

But of course AT&T can get big again, and become so dominant again that it is a feared monopoly that must be dealt with — if it should be so lucky. But getting there will take build, not buy.

Getting so large that you could control a market to the real or potential peril of the consuming public happened a lot in the industrial age, with railroads and oil, and even the movie business, which was ordered in 1948 to divest itself of theaters. But that was at a snail’s pace. These days eyebrows are raised by the Microsofts and Apples and Googles of the world who manage, in what seems like a blink of an eye, to provide goods or services so many people want that competitors have a hard time keeping up.

Unlike the industrial age, it seems like anyone with the right idea and execution (and garage) can do it. Who could have imagined Apple would become the most significant handset maker in the world. Frankly, who could have imagined Apple at all?. Or that Google would come up with mobile phone software that now sets the pace? Or even that Microsoft, when it decided it wanted to, would choke investor-beloved Netscape to death in no time?

Mergers can be a fast way of taking the lead or getting back on track. But they seem better suited for a zero-sum game, as when Sirius and XM radio tied up so satellite radio wouldn’t die because there wasn’t really room for two players at that stage of the tech’s evolution. Or when Thompson and Reuters combined to become as big as Bloomberg had become.

On the Internet, we are at the leading edge of a land grab, a gold rush, oil mania [insert cliche here]. There is absolutely no doubt that wireless is going to be the most important medium in the history of this world. There is already an insatiable appetite for it among the haves, which are largely in the Western world and concentrated in urban centers, and who will only be wanting more/faster/cheaper.

And then there is the rest of this planet which isn’t nearly there yet but will have to get there. It just will have to.

It seems unthinkable now, but we didn’t really know that the Internet would resonate. It had been around for more than two decades before AOL started minting customers. Then the World Wide Web provided an “aha!” moment to the indifferent masses. We didn’t really know that “expensive” broadband would be so widely adopted. But we absolu...
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