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Citi Media: Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T; The Story Begins With Wireless

Shares of AT&T (NYSE: T) are slipping over 3 percent as CEO Randall Stephenson informed Citibank’s Annual Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference that the economy is taking a visible toll on the company’s broadband and traditional access business. Non-paid disconnects, up since the third quarter, are the primary culprit. But so far, the company isn’t seeing weakness on the wireless side — not yet anyway. Stephenson’s key theme: “Telecom is a growth industry.”:

Growth drivers: “The whole revenue story begins with wireless.” Voice minutes continue to grow, at a rate of 10 percent per year, but the jewel is data. Still most customers aren’t using high-ARPU smartphones, but consumer adoption is increasing. Stephenson cited his daughter’s friends, who are all using advanced handsets, such as the iPhone or the Blackberry Pearl. Mobile video is mentioned is a key application that can drive data consumption. “Mid-teen growth rates in wireless are very achievable.” In terms of future penetration, pre-paid is the big opportunity. Because costs are lower in this area, it doesn’t need to be a particularly low-margin business. Triple play is key.

Spending: The company is nearing an end of a capex cycle in wireless, with 3G buildout done. Next gen LTE/4G will scale in 2011 at the earliest, but the 2012-2013 range is more likely.

4 Responses to “Citi Media: Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T; The Story Begins With Wireless”

  1. I'm apalled at the customer service that I have gotten with AT&T;over a $1200 phone charge that I got because my 16 year old downloaded XM radio on her new phone. (She wouldn't have even know about XM radio had the store clerk not mentioned it to her.) If we had a $19.99/media plan the hour that she listened to XM radion would not have run up a $1200 phone bill. As far as I know in the state of Texas a 16 year old can not sign a binding contract and this is exactly what happened when my child hit the I ACCEPT button on her phone. If there is an attorney out there willing to take on this case pro bono. I'll be happy to furnish the details. I wrote a letter to Mr. Stephenson four weeks ago and have not gotten a reply. I have been with AT&T;for over 20 years but have serious issues with the legality of this problem.

  2. Mr. Stephenson needs to be aware that his wireless company provides disheartening service to members. I have a "go phone" through his organization and when I added minutes to it ,via my visa card yesterday, 1/26/08, AT&T;was experiencing technical difficulties. They took the monies from my card but never supplied the minutes to my phone. I called them today and explained my family is in the middle of a tragedy and emergncy (one of my nephews has been missing for almost 3 months, ( and another nephew was in pediatric ICU from a life threatening car accident, (it split his liver in two). I NEED MY PHONE, for obvious reasons. Mr. Stephenson's company tells me I need to wait 3 to 4 business days to correct the transaction that resulted from THEIR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. No one and I mean no one should use AT&T;wireless if this how they treat their customers.

  3. Mr. Stephenson needs to try consumer relations. People who have been with Cingular/At & t for any lenght of time know your bill will have crazy data and or text charges at some time or another. It gets real old trying to get them to stop charging the customer for services they do not use.

    If he wants to boost sales he's going to have to one up the rest of the competition. Texting services that are unlimited per month (for a fee) should include all carriers. Has anyone ever notices the free or lost cost phones quit working before your contract time is up. In 6 years I have not had one last. Stop cheating people on thier bills, and if a mistake is made credit the customer without making them feel like they did something wrong, when the company is the one making the mistakes!

  4. T.R. Moore

    Mr. Stephenson obviously isn't getting the word from the operatives in at&t;'s
    trenches, concerning home office, internet and phone connections. His
    company is playing the, "float", game on returning a $50.00 rebate for a
    connection box at the time of instillation. I have determined, they (AT&T;), have
    no intention of returning those $50. rebates to new customers. The billing
    periods are all scrambled up and delayed so a customer can't figure out a
    logical 30 billing period and appropriate charge for services. Every month it's
    another negociation with customer service to go over the scrambled numbers.
    I believe this is all intentional and another attempt to gouge more money out of
    well intentioned honest customers. I understand why people just let the service go and not paying another dime. Clean up your Company's act Boss. Your consumer business practices STINK!!!! – – – – Irritated in California,