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AT&T chief on iPhone, more at Forbes expo

updated 04:00 pm EDT, Thu October 25, 2007

Stephenson Forbes Comments

The iPhone is making AT&T reconsider its approach to data and video, company chief Randall Stephenson said today at the Forbes MEET II forum. While most users have typically been sparing with Internet use on their phones, the frequency of access "jumps by multiples" when existing subscribers switch to an iPhone, the carrier head noted. The executive also observed that the Apple handset's ability to play video had changed his and the company's approach to video playback, as he and many at the company had never thought it likely that customers would watch video on a cellphone until the iPhone became public.

This sudden discovery of the usefulness of video plays significantly into the motivation behind buying 700MHz spectrum from Aloha Partners, Stephenson said. The potentially fast, long-range frequency would allow AT&T to provide streaming video more easily than it can on today's HSDPA and upcoming HSUPA networks. Large amounts of built-in storage on the iPhone and similar devices are helpful for now, the AT&T chief added, but will be less essential when subscribers can stream the content instantly regardless of their location. No long-term plans for a 700MHz for the iPhone or any device were mentioned at the MEET II event.

Stephenson also reiterated his company's anti-regulatory stance on issues such as carrier device restrictions and net neutrality. The US federal government 'killed' broadband penetration at the turn of the century through controls on access and price, and was likely to do so again if it stepped in to resolve perceived problems today, he contended. AT&T was described as having no plans to violate the principles of net neutrality but would also resist attempts to pass laws that guarantee a level playing field. The company chief also did not object to private organizations offering municipal Wi-Fi but complained about having to "compete with the government" when a city administration proposes building a free or low-cost wireless connection.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    spin-spin-spin

    "Don't kill our gross profits!!!"

    whatever dude...

  1. marmotton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004

    0

    Europe

    In the meantime you can get 20-30 MPBS broadband almost anywhere in Europe for half it costs to get 1.5Mbps in the US ... Why do you think the dollar is getting lower and lower and the Euro is going higher? The U.S. is just way behind and stuck in the last century in infrastructure (highway, gas usage), communication (cell phone, broadband), law (tort, highly litigious society) and finance (high regulation, high debt, SOX)

    This has a price.

  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005

    0

    marmuttonhead

    Obviously, a financial genius. Why didn't I think of the speed of access being the cause of the currency valuation?

    And obviously this muttonhead has never actually been in Europe. Ever use your German cell in Switzerland? Drive any European road other than the Autobahn? Pay taxes in France?

    Doofuses.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    But free enterprise!!!

    Of course one must blame regulation and taxation for "free enterprise's" failures.

  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    doofus 1 and doofus 2

    i'm not sure your reply is much brighter, robttwo. What's your point? Let me guess... Europe is evidence of socialism's failure? Don't get me started on that one... and I actually know what I am talking about.

  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    at+t head=bonehead

    as for the actual post (what a concept, being on topic), the AT+T CEO is just another greedhead. If he supports the principles of net neutrality, why be opposed to having it legislated? Are we just supposed to trust him?

    as for municipal wireless networks... there's a real debate to had here as to whether a municipal wireless network is basic infrastructure which government should provide. I say it is, but I'd certainly be willing to debate that (civilly). Look how 'privatizing' electricity went. There are certain services which government is uniquely qualified to provide... water, highways, even in LA electricity is provided by the city and while Enron was s******* Californians with artificial power shortages, residents served by LA's municipal power agency had reasonably priced electricity.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: May 2001

    0

    electric ...

    this is one of those examples where the status-quo becomes normal and un-questioned. I've never thought about electric being something the government could / should provide. I'm a big person for private enterprise, but yes, you are correct. It very well could be justified as an ultrastructure solution. But: I'm not so sure it could *always* be better implemented by the gov't. Just because L.A. does it right, doesn't mean all cities always will. At least when a private enterprise screws it up, they are *eventually* held accountable. With the gov't, not so much. Look at Social Security for example. Better yet: Look at the water issue in North Georgia.

  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005

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    Climass

    Yes, your LA example is LOCAL government. Don't forget that electric company's including Enron, are regulated by the federal government - and they almost always do a woeful job.

    When you use the word "provide" - that means we, the taxpayer, provide it. The last thing we need is the govt getting involved in wireless or any access. Really, you threw out "LA" (which, by the way, is actually run by private contractor/Co-ops, not the govt) - name ANY program the federal government runs that is efficient and financially responsible. You may be able to come up with one, to which there are 1000s which are not.

    the only Doofuses ae those who want to suck the govt t** because they are too lazy to grow up.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: at*T = bonehead

    as for the actual post (what a concept, being on topic), the AT+T CEO is just another greedhead. If he supports the principles of net neutrality, why be opposed to having it legislated? Are we just supposed to trust him?

    Well, there are those who believe regulation is what hinders, not helps, adoption and development of new technologies. h***, look what happened when they de-regulated plane travel, phone systems, etc. Done well, you don't need regulation. You have competition to push the crowd.

    And regulations, by and large, have the lack of foresight to see future possibilities. So, five years form now, when some new invention or use of broadband comes around that could be 'the next big thing', it may get hampered because of net neutrality rules that prevent it from taking off.

    Look at cable franchising. It sounded great at the time when it was a fledgling industry. But then it was used to keep competitors out of the market, so most people only had/have one choice of provider for TV. And then the internet boom started, and, again, cable had their own exclusive foot in the door, which leads to Comcast quality service for only $60 a month! But then try to get other ISPs on their pipes, and it all of a sudden becomes something about free markets and all.

    The problem is, no one knows how it will affect stuff in the future. And that's the problem with regulation.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999

    0

    re: sound quality

    "If you're listening to mp3's, you already don't care too much about sound quality."

    That's not quite true. A quality D/A converter can do wonders for even MP3s. I'd rather have an MP3 with a good D/A converter than an AAC with a mediocre one. People who like sound quality also like convenience and efficiency. This gives them both.

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