Goodbye Ed Whitacre, Hello Randall Stephenson, the new CEO of AT&T and his new executive team. Long the crown prince of AT&T, Stephenson took over the top job yesterday. We decided to ask him a few questions, about AT&T, the future and what it means to […]

Goodbye Ed Whitacre, Hello Randall Stephenson, the new CEO of AT&T and his new executive team. Long the crown prince of AT&T, Stephenson took over the top job yesterday.

stephenson_sml.jpgWe decided to ask him a few questions, about AT&T, the future and what it means to be the top guy at the biggest phone company on the planet. More importantly, what does it feel to step into the shoes of Ed Whitacre, the outgoing CEO of AT&T. Any first day jitters, we wondered. And is he excited about iPhone like rest of the planet?

Here are excerpts from an e-interview:

Om Malik: How does it feel to be the CEO of new AT&T?

Randall Stephenson
: It feels great and humbling all at once. Ed Whitacre changed the company, he changed the industry, and he revitalized an iconic American brand. That’s a hard act to follow. But he left this company in great shape and that’s very exciting to me and everyone here.

OM: AT&T is a fearsome company now, with a weight of its legacy. Any first day jitters?

RS: Fearsome is the wrong word. The new AT&T is a 6-month-old company with a 130-year legacy of innovation and reliability behind us. When we closed the BellSouth deal in December, we finally put all the major pieces together.

The new AT&T is wireless at the core in terms of great new handsets; in terms of enabling true anytime, anywhere mobility that our customers want and in terms of being innovative and service-oriented. If there are any jitters, it’s from the excitement running through this company about our prospects.

OM: There are a lot of challenges facing the company. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing AT&T as a company and you personally?

RS: Our biggest challenge as a company is to ensure that our customers really understand what the new AT&T is all about. We are the most complete communications and entertainment provider for the way people live–and that starts with wireless. When people recognize that, we win. It’s the same on the business side.

My personal challenge is to make sure that the pieces we’ve assembled–industry-leading wireless, TV, broadband, global operations and local service work together as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

OM: How vital is iPhone to your company? I have never seen AT&T push something so hard that wasn’t developed internally. Why is that?

RS: The iPhone is a radically innovative new device and it only makes sense that AT&T and Apple would partner to bring it to market. This device is very important to us, it’s important to Apple and it is going to do very well with customers. It also reinforces with consumers that AT&T is the place to turn for the latest in wireless devices and services.

OM: Will AT&T change its decision about Fiber-DSL combo (FTTN) and go (all) FTTH in the future?

: It’s never been “either/or” for us. It was always about how to get IPTV to customers the fastest, and that’s what FTTN accomplishes. We have already embraced fiber-to-the-home in certain cases, such as new, greenfield construction.

We like our fiber-to-the-node strategy as well. It lets us deliver multiple streams of IPTV, including HD, to more than 18 million homes at about one-fourth the cost. As compression technology and electronics advance, we’ll get even more bandwidth. The response from customers has been great.

  1. What a coup for GigaOM! Congrats.

  2. congrats on the interview. I hope you will have King Jobs on the 29th.

  3. Thanks guys. appreciate your kind words. I am not sure about King Jobs. Hey but we will keep trying.

  4. Lame, what a boring interview, you have such interesting commentary on Ma’ Bell usually, this looks like such a suck up piece. Gee do you have jitters in a new job whatever.

  5. Given that he actually gave the time on the first day of the new job, this is the best we could do. I am going to fly to San Antonio and spend some quality time with him, and dig deeper on various different issues.

  6. Ash Vasudevan Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    This is precisely why Gigaom is my start page to the Internet. Great job, Om. What a coup. Cannot wait for the longer interview.

  7. What about homezone ; )

  8. OM, great piece. Looking forward to the deeper piece to come. Few people writing online will be able to match that.

  9. michaelmtaylor Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    Attaboy Om! Great job!

  10. Is it just me or does that guy have one hell of a silver tongue? Every answer is perfectly positive to shareholders and employees alike – even the totally innocent negative you insinuated Om (re: “AT&T is a fearsome company..”) gets instantly squashed by Mr. Randall Stephenson..

    Its the little things like this that makes a guy CEO of AT&T.. impressive to say the least


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