AT&T Mobility

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from AT&T Wireless)
Jump to: navigation, search
"AT&T Wireless" redirects here. For the defunct wireless provider that was merged into Cingular in 2004, see AT&T Wireless Services.
AT&T Mobility LLC
Formerly called Cingular Wireless LLC
Type Subsidiary
Industry Wireless telecommunications
Founded 2000 (2000)
Headquarters Lenox Park, Georgia, U.S.
Area served United States
Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
Key people Randall Stephenson, President and CEO
Peter A. Ritcher, CFO
Products Mobile telephony
Wireless broadband services
Revenue Increase$69.9 billion (2013)
Operating income Increase$17.9 billion (2013)
Employees 70,000 (2010)
Parent BellSouth (40%, 2000-2006)
SBC/AT&T (60%, 2000-2006; 100% 2006-present)
Website wireless.att.com

AT&T Mobility, branded and referred to as at&t, formerly known as Cingular Wireless LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T Inc. that provides wireless services to 116.01 million subscribers[1] in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. at&t Mobility is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States and Puerto Rico. at&t Mobility is headquartered in the Lenox Park area of DeKalb Co. Georgia, just outside Atlanta.[2]

Originally known as Cingular Wireless from 2000 to 2007, a joint venture between SBC Communications and BellSouth, the company acquired the old AT&T Wireless in 2004; SBC later acquired the original AT&T and re-branded as "at&t". Cingular became wholly owned by at&t in December 2006 as a result of at&t's acquisition of BellSouth.

In January 2007, Cingular confirmed it would re-brand itself under the at&t name. Although the legal corporate name change occurred immediately, for both regulatory and brand-awareness reasons both brands were used in the company's signage and advertising during a transition period.[3] The transition concluded in late June, just prior to the rollout of the Apple iPhone.

On March 20, 2011, at&t Mobility announced its intention to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. If it had received government and regulatory approval, at&t would have had more than 130 million subscribers.[4] However, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission, and at&t Mobility's competitors (such as Sprint Nextel) opposed the move on the grounds that it would substantially reduce competition in the cellular network market. In December 2011, in the face of both governmental and widespread consumer opposition, at&t withdrew their offer to complete the merger.[5]

On March 13, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission approved the acquisition between at&t and Leap Wireless. On the same day Leap announced the completion of the acquisition by at&t.

Services[edit]

Among the services that AT&T aggressively promotes is its Rollover Minutes service which allows customers to keep unused minutes from month to month on a twelve-month rolling cycle on its popular nationwide plans. Beginning in July 2007, AT&T allows its AT&T Unity plan users to have Rollover, a service which was exclusive to the Nation plans. AT&T also launched video share in 2007, in which a mobile caller can stream live video from one phone to another over the 3G network with video share capable phones. This allows one mobile phone user to view video from another user's camera through the mobile phone in real time. AT&T also had A-list, similar to former competitor Alltel's program launched on April 20, 2006 branded "My Circle." AT&T rolled out the A-list program on September 20, 2009. Customers with individual Nation plans of $59.99 or higher could use A-List with Rollover to select up to five domestic phone numbers to call anytime—including landlines and wireless numbers on any network—without using any of the minutes in their plan. FamilyTalk customers with plans of $89.99 or more could select up to ten numbers which any person in the FamilyTalk plan can call as much as they want.[6] Effective September 1, 2011, the A-List feature is no longer available to new consumer and IRU customers. Existing customers who had A-List on their account prior to September 1, 2011, are able to keep the feature as long as they stay on a qualifying rate plan. As of October 25, 2013 AT&T no longer offers Nation Plans or Family Talk Plans to its new customers. New customers are now required to have one of AT&T Mobile Share Value plans which include unlimited Talk, Text and a shareable bucket of data start at $45 for a smartphone.

Employees[edit]

AT&T Mobility headquarters (and other AT&T departments) in Lenox Park adjacent to Atlanta

A large number of AT&T Mobility employees are unionized, belonging to the Communications Workers of America. The CWA represented roughly 15,000 of the previous 20,000 formerly AT&T Wireless employees as of early 2006.[7] As of the end of 2009, the CWA website claims roughly 40,000 workers of AT&T Mobility are represented by the union.[8]

History[edit]

Cingular Wireless logo, 2000–2004

Cingular Wireless LLC was founded in 2000 as a joint venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth. The joint venture created the nation's second-largest carrier. Cingular grew out of a conglomeration of more than 100 companies,[9] with 12 well-known regional companies with Bell roots. The 12 companies included:

SBC Wireless had previously operated in several northeast markets under the "Cellular One" brand, while BellSouth's wireless operations incorporated the former Houston Cellular.

Cingular's lineage can be traced back to Advanced Mobile Phone Service, which was a subsidiary of AT&T created in 1978 to provide cellular service nationwide. AMPS, Inc. was divided among the Regional Bell Operating Companies as part of the Bell System divestiture.

With the exception of Pacific Bell and BellSouth Mobility DCS, the digital network consisted of D-AMPS technology. The Pacific Bell and BellSouth Mobility DCS networks used GSM technology on the PCS frequency band (1900 MHz).

In October 2007, AT&T’s president and chief executive officer Stan Sigman announced his retirement. Ralph de la Vega, group president-Regional Telecom & Entertainment, was named as president and CEO, AT&T Mobility.[10]

AT&T Wireless merger[edit]

In February 2004, after a bidding war with Britain's Vodafone Plc (at the time a part-owner of Verizon Wireless) Cingular announced that it would purchase its struggling competitor, AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., for $41 billion. This was more than twice the company's trading value.

AT&T Wireless logo
Cingular Wireless logo, 2004–2007

The merger was completed on October 26, 2004. The combined company had a customer base of 46 million people at the time, making Cingular the largest wireless provider in the United States. AT&T Wireless was then legally renamed New Cingular Wireless Services, Inc. [11] Shortly after, new commercials were shown with the "AT&T" transforming into the Cingular logo, and with the Cingular logo's text turned blue to acknowledge the change. Some of the companies that comprised Cingular, such as BellSouth Mobility, ceased to exist when they were legally merged into the operating company subsidiary AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC, which was New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC.[12]

First announced on June 22, 2005, Cingular Wireless announced the intention to divest its Caribbean and Bermuda operations and licenses which it acquired from the acquisition of AT&T Wireless, to Irish-owned and Jamaica-based Digicel Group under undisclosed financial terms.[13][14][15][16]

In 2006, one year following the deal, a high-ranking source allegedly close to the sale pointed the Barbados Daily Nation Newspaper towards some SEC filings made by Cingular which were said to establish an idea of the approximate sale price of the deal. According to the SEC filings Cingular was paid around $122 million, with much of that cost going towards the purchase of the former AT&T Wireless assets in Barbados by Digicel.[citation needed]

At the time of the merger, there were two networks: the historic AT&T Blue Network and the Cingular Orange Network. Both networks contained a mix of both TDMA and GSM facilities. Approximately 50,000 cell sites had to be melded together. From a technical standpoint, the "blue" and "orange" networks were considered different networks until integration was completed in 2005.[17] Enhanced Network Selection (ENS) was used to home cellular devices on either the "blue" or "orange" network during this process.

"Cingular is now The New AT&T"[edit]

On November 21, 2005, Ed Whitacre, then CEO of the newly merged SBC/AT&T, announced plans to market Cingular's service under the AT&T brand. BellSouth spokesman Jeff Battcher countered that the terms of the joint venture allow either party to sell the service under another name, and that he believes they will be using the brand to market to business customers.[18] Cingular president Stan Sigman concurred with BellSouth's position, indicating that the Cingular brand would continue but be sold under the AT&T brand where offered in packages with other AT&T services, such as data and wireline telephony.

However, AT&T, Inc. announced on March 5, 2006[19] that it would acquire BellSouth. The acquisition was finalized on December 29, 2006 when the FCC gave its final approval. According to AT&T, the company began the rebranding of Cingular Wireless to "AT&T".[20]

On January 12, 2007 AT&T announced[21] a major rebranding transition campaign to transition Cingular to the new AT&T (in February 2009 "new" was removed). The former Cingular stores, after being rebranded to AT&T, sold all AT&T products and services: wireless, landline, Internet, U-Verse, and more.

Cingular to AT&T rebranding transition
  • On January 14, 2007, AT&T launched the transition of the Cingular brand to AT&T in television advertising and customer communications, by creating the "Cingular is now The New AT&T" logo.
  • On April 15, 2007, AT&T Mobility began to introduce new AT&T branded mobile phones and devices. The alpha tag (portion of phone's screen which displays the name of the network on which the phone is connected) on new phone activations also started reading "AT&T".
  • Around May 11, 2007, Cingular's name was replaced with "AT&T" in most advertisements.
  • On May 19, 2007, the AT&T logo replaced the Cingular logo on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car it sponsors, owned by Richard Childress Racing and driven by Jeff Burton; however it was soon removed.
  • On May 24, 2007, Palm, Inc. issued an update for Cingular-branded Treo 680 smartphones that, among other things, updated the phone's branding (startup and shutdown screens, wallpaper backgrounds) from Cingular to AT&T.[22]
  • As of May 31, 2007, the former cingular.com website redirects to wireless.att.com and no longer features any Cingular logos whatsoever.
  • In June 2007, customer service phone lines started being answered "Thank you for calling The New AT&T, about your wireless service." Additionally, all new SIM cards are branded with the AT&T logo.
  • By June 16, 2007, most of the phones on the company's network displayed AT&T as the carrier instead of Cingular.
  • By early 2009, AT&T had dropped "The New" part of its brand from all advertising and communications. Customer service phone lines are answered "Thank you for calling AT&T."
  • As of December 2013, www.cingular.com can still be used to access AT&T's wireless shop website. Although AT&T let the Cingular federal trademark lapse as of June 2013 they still own a trademark for Cingular Sounds. The domain CingularSounds.com also rolls over to an AT&T webpage.

Acquisition of Dobson Communications[edit]

Transition banner used for Dobson/AT&T transition
Dobson Cellular Logo
Cellular One logo used by Dobson until acquisition by AT&T in November 2007

On November 15, 2007, AT&T completed its acquisition of Dobson Communications. Dobson marketed the Cellular One brand in rural and suburban locations in various areas of the United States, including Alaska. AT&T bought Dobson for $13 per share, as well as assuming the regional carrier's debt, which cost the carrier about $5.1 billion total. The U.S. Justice Department had ordered AT&T Inc. to sell assets in five U.S. states to complete its $2.8 billion Dobson Communications Corp. takeover. The department ordered AT&T to divest certain cell-phone assets in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas where AT&T and Dobson are most competitive. At the time, AT&T was the largest U.S. cell-phone provider, with more than 81 million subscribers in 50 states. Dobson's Cellular One was the ninth largest, with 1.7 million subscribers in 17 states. Dobson had been an AT&T roaming partner since 1990, and the acquisition is expected to bring growth to Dobson's current markets. The purchase allowed AT&T to operate in the more rural areas of the United States including Alaska and West Virginia.[23]

Acquisition of Centennial Communications[edit]

On November 7, 2008, AT&T announced its plans to acquire Centennial Wireless for $944 million. AT&T said that the acquisition would provide customers with better coverage in the Southeast, Midwest, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The deal will also give AT&T more highly coveted 850 MHz spectrum in the current Centennial Wireless coverage area. In addition, Centennial also provides switched voice and high-capacity data and Internet Protocol solutions for business customers in Puerto Rico. The transaction will give AT&T a wired network presence in Puerto Rico and will allow the company to better serve its multinational business customers with a presence in this U.S. territory. AT&T will gain Centennial's 893,000 subscribers after divestiture requirements. The deal was finalized on November 6, 2009.[24]

Failed acquisition of T-Mobile USA[edit]

On March 20, 2011, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom announced that AT&T had agreed to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a deal estimated to be worth $39 billion in cash and stock. AT&T said the deal was expected to close in 12 months and was subject to regulatory approval. As of June 2011, it was being examined by the FCC.[25] On August 31, 2011, the United States Department of Justice formally announced that it had filed a lawsuit to block the merger.[26] On November 22, 2011, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recommended sending AT&T Inc.'s proposed T-Mobile acquisition to an administrative law judge for review and a hearing.[27] On November 23, 2011 AT&T withdrew its application with the FCC regarding the acquisition of T-Mobile USA. They also indicated that they would recognize a $4 Billion dollar accounting charge in the event of a deal collapse. That charge covers a $3 Billion cash breakup fee and $1 Billion as the market value for the spectrum they were required to transfer to T-Mobile if the deal failed to complete.[28]

Acquisition of NextWave Wireless[edit]

On August 2, 2012, AT&T and NextWave Wireless announced an agreement for AT&T to acquire NextWave Wireless, Inc. NextWave holds licenses in the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) bands.

The acquisition closed on January 24, 2013.

Acquisition of Alltel brand from Atlantic Tele-Network[edit]

On January 22, 2013, AT&T announced that it had signed an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network to acquire the company’s U.S. retail wireless operations, operated under the Alltel brand, for $780 million in cash. Under terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 585,000 subscribers. The transaction closed on September 20, 2013.

Acquisition of Leap Wireless[edit]

On March 13, 2014 AT&T announced an agreement to acquire Leap Wireless (Cricket Wireless) for $1.2 Billion. Press Release: http://newsroom.leapwireless.com/Press-Releases/AT-T-to-Acquire-Leap-Wireless-646.aspx/

Network[edit]

GSM facilities[edit]

In California, Nevada, Northern New Jersey and New York City, Cingular and T-Mobile USA maintained and shared a GSM-1900 network prior to the acquisition of AT&T Wireless, through a joint venture known as GSM Facilities. The network sharing agreement allowed Cingular to offer local service in northern New Jersey and New York City and T-Mobile USA to offer service in California and Nevada. On May 25, 2004, Cingular and T-Mobile USA announced their intention to dissolve the agreement contingent on Cingular's successful acquisition of AT&T Wireless, the Cingular network was transferred to T-Mobile USA, with Cingular continuing work on the GSM facilities at AT&T Wireless sites.[29]

Fiber network switching facilities[edit]

AT&T has a global subsea Tier-1 fiber network switching facility on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in conjunction with University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park.

Radio frequency summary[edit]

Further information: UMTS frequency bands and LTE frequency bands

The following is a list of known frequencies which AT&T employs in the United States:

Frequencies used on the AT&T Network
Frequency range Band number Protocol Class Status Notes
850 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G Decommissioning by 2017 [30]
1900 MHz PCS GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G Decommissioning by 2017 [30]
850 MHz CLR 5 UMTS/HSPA+ 21Mbit/s 3G Active
1900 MHz PCS 2 UMTS/HSPA+ 21Mbit/s 3G Active
700 MHz Block B 17 LTE 4G Active Main LTE band providing complete coverage
1700 MHz AWS 4 LTE 4G Active Additional LTE band for more bandwidth in select markets
1900 MHz PCS 2 LTE 4G Active Additional LTE band for more bandwidth in select markets[31]
2300 MHz WCS 30 LTE 4G Active[32]

Network coverage[edit]

An AT&T Mobility Device Support Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

As a result of its formation through mergers and acquisitions, as well as the rapid technological change in the wireless industry, AT&T Mobility operates the second largest digital voice and data network within its United States footprint reaching over 310 million people or 99% established coverage using different wireless communication standards. The core technology standard for the AT&T Mobility wireless network is called Global System for Mobile Communications, or GSM. Much of the AT&T Mobility network footprint now uses GSM-standard 3G wireless technologies (UMTS/HSPA) for simultaneous circuit switched voice and packet switched data communications. AT&T Mobility also offers Push To Talk (PTT) service using network technology from Kodiak Networks.

Cingular, the predecessor to AT&T Mobility, supported legacy D-AMPS/TDMA and analog wireless networks. In March 2006, Cingular announced that these networks would be shut down by February 2008. As of March 31, 2007 Cingular ended TDMA supported for GoPhone (pre-paid) customers. On February 18, 2008, AT&T Mobility officially ended service on their AMPS and TDMA network, except for in areas previously operated by Dobson Communications; the Dobson AMPS and TDMA network was shut down March 1, 2008.

Networks formerly operated by AT&T Mobility predecessors including Cingular also include various paging services and the Cingular Interactive division, which became Velocita Wireless. Velocita was later purchased by Sprint Nextel.[33]

The AT&T Mobility wireless data network began in 2002 as a Cingular initiative called "Project Genesis" that involved a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) overlay of the entire wireless network. Project Genesis was completed by the end of 2004. Later, this network was upgraded to EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) across the GSM footprint.

In 2005, AT&T Mobility launched a broadband network known as "BroadbandConnect", based on UMTS and High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), to counter Verizon Wireless and Sprint's EV-DO networks. UMTS service was launched on December 6, 2005 in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, San Jose, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Puerto Rico, Austin, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore and Washington D.C. and expanded to all major metropolitan markets by the end of 2006. As of early 2009, AT&T Mobility has completed its upgrade of the 3G network to HSUPA,[34] and will begin a new round of upgrades to the HSPA+ standard.[35]

Some areas do not have native AT&T coverage, such as much of the state of Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maine. In these areas, AT&T has roaming agreements with regional providers such as Alltel, Viaero Wireless, and Unicel to provide voice and EDGE/GPRS service.

Future networks[edit]

AT&T Mobility like most other mobile phone companies have chosen to build their new "4G" networks, with "Long Term Evolution" or LTE technology. LTE is the next step from 3G/WCDMA and HSPA for many already on the GSM technology curve, including AT&T. This new radio access technology will be optimized to deliver very fast data rates of up to 100 Mbit/s downlink and 50 Mbit/s uplink (peak rates). AT&T Networks will be throttling down the speeds to ensure all customers will be able to use LTE efficiently. Speeds are expected to be actually 6 Mbit/s to 8 Mbit/s with the exception of around 20 Mbit/s (Peak Rate), however this will change in time.

Designed to be forwards-compatible with SSP and FEGO, LTE incorporates Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) in combination with Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) in the downlink and Single Carrier FDMA in the uplink to provide high levels of spectral efficiency and end user data rates exceeding 100 Mbit/s, coupled with major improvements in capacity and reductions in latency. LTE will support channel bandwidths from 1.25 MHz to 20 MHz and both FDD and TDD operation. MetroPCS has activated the first LTE network, which is fully operational. Depending on the amount of spectrum the carrier deploys it is expected AT&T will deploy 10 MHz = 70 Mbit/s.

AT&T upgraded to HSPA 14.4 as a part of their effort to enhance their 3G wireless network as well as the transition to LTE. AT&T stated that their upgrades were completed at the end of 2010 after completing backhaul connections leading from cell sites to AT&T switching facilities.[36] In addition, AT&T has stated that their LTE network will be completed by year end 2014.

Marketing[edit]

"Fewest dropped calls"[edit]

During the first quarter of 2006, Telephia reported that during an extensive nationwide test of major wireless carriers in 350 metropolitan markets around the country, Cingular dropped the fewest number of calls across the country. Cingular in turn began aggressively advertising the "Allover Network", citing Telephia as "the leading independent research company." Telephia's report was in stark contrast to the Consumers Union publication, Consumer Reports, based on a survey of 50,000 of its members in 18 cities, which criticized Cingular for static and dropped calls.[37] Furthermore, J.D. Power and Associates consistently ranked Cingular at or near the bottom of every geographical region in its 2006 Wireless Call Quality Study, which is based on a smaller survey of 23,000 wireless users. This campaign had to come to an abrupt end.

Telephia, which tests wireless networks by making over 6 million calls per year in what it claims is the world's largest wireless network test program, initially refused to provide details on its study, and a spokesman for the company has said, according to the Boston Globe, that "Cingular shouldn't have even mentioned the company's name to a reporter."[38] The research company later stated that Cingular did indeed have a "statistically significant lower dropped-call rate than the competition across some market/time period groupings", but that Telephia had "no knowledge of the specific methodology (markets, time periods or statistical thresholds) that Cingular used for its 'lowest dropped call' claim."[39] While AT&T has abandoned its verbal claim of "The Fewest Dropped Calls" in its commercials, it continues to show situations where two persons are speaking with each other on their phones, and one of the users' call drops. AT&T now states "We are still continuing to run ads that emphasize the importance of not dropping calls. That campaign is continuing."[40]

Apple iPhone[edit]

On June 29, 2007 the Apple iPhone was introduced to the U.S. market, and it made AT&T the exclusive carrier for the device within the United States until February 10, 2011, when the iPhone 4 was launched on the Verizon network.

Teething problems with AT&T's billing process emerged soon after the iPhone's release, as early adopters started receiving exceptionally detailed monthly telephone bills[41][42] with one of the most notable being the 300-page iPhone bill that was featured in an online video by blogger Justine Ezarik.[43][44]

Apple launched the iPhone 3G with AT&T on July 11, 2008. Although specific AT&T sales numbers are unavailable, Apple announced that over 1 million iPhone 3G devices were sold during the first three days – in contrast, according to Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, “It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones." [45] In August 2008, Best Buy announced that it would begin selling the iPhone 3G for use on the AT&T network.[46] In September 2008, AT&T announced that it would also sell the iPhone 3G in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.[47]

In the United States, the iPhone 3G is available for purchase with or without an AT&T contract, as most big box retailers, like Best Buy, will sell the device without a contract.[48] AT&T is rumored to have heavily subsidized the iPhone's price to reach a broader spectrum of consumers.

On December 27, 2009, reports began to surface that AT&T had suspended online sales of the iPhone.[49] Spokesman Fletcher Cook said that the phone company periodically "modifies" its distribution channels, but had no further comment on the suspension of sales in the New York City area.[50] One AT&T employee incorrectly stated that, "New York wasn't ready for the iPhone," and that it lacked a sufficient number of cell towers to meet the heavy data demands imposed upon the network by iPhone users.[51] Sales of the popular iPhone resumed December 30, 2009.[52] This incident has revived speculation that AT&T's wireless network is not up to the demands of the current generation of 3G smartphones.[49][53] The official AT&T statement is that a large amount of fraudulent activity caused the withdrawal of sales in the area.

The iPhone 4 was released on June 24, 2010. It brought a number of new features like an upgraded camera, flash, a new exterior design, upgraded screen, and the new version of Apple's software. According to Apple, over 1.7 million iPhone 4 units were sold in the first few days, which is the most out of any phone ever sold. These sales propelled AT&T to strong Q2 results.

Android-based smart phones[edit]

On February 18, 2010, AT&T announced that on March 7, 2010 it would introduce its first smart phone based on Google's Android operating system,[54] the Motorola Backflip.[55][56] On March 22, 2010, AT&T announced that its second Android handset would be the Dell Aero, a revised version of the Dell Mini 3.[54] However, the second Android phone AT&T released was the HTC Aria [57][58][59] which was announced on June 14, 2010 and released on June 20, 2010. The Samsung Captivate, which is part of the Galaxy S family, was released on AT&T's network on July 18, 2010. In addition to devices released on AT&T were a line of handsets manufactured by Motorola. The Motorola Flipout, followed by the Motorola Flipside and the Motorola Bravo all run Android 2.1 and were all released Q4 2010. Three new 4G Android devices were announced for release within the first and second quarter of the fiscal year 2011 including the Motorola Atrix 4G, the HTC Inspire 4G, and the Samsung Infuse 4G. HTC Inspire 4G being the first, proceeded by the Motorola Atrix 4G are currently available through AT&T's 4G network.[60] These three devices are all running Android 2.2 (froyo) and are expected to be upgraded to Android 2.3 gingerbread later in the year along with an update to 'enable' 4G uploads. Unlike other US networks with Android-based phones, AT&T did not allow non-Market Apps to be installed. However on May 16, 2011 AT&T announced that some current and future Android devices will come with an option to allow the installation of unofficial applications.[61]

Windows Phone-based smart phones[edit]

On November 8, 2010, AT&T and Microsoft released three smarphones using the Windows Phone operating system. One of the devices is the HTC Surround, which features a slide-out Dolby Surround speaker. Another is the Samsung Focus, featuring a 4" Super AMOLED screen and bears similarity to Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy S line. The last is the LG Quantum, which has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. All phones include a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a display with WVGA (800x480) resolution, and a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. These releases were all part of the official "flagship carrier" status held by AT&T for Windows Phone. However, despite that status, the user community has been critical of the reluctance of AT&T to release updates for their phones, often leaving AT&T Wireless customers far behind those on other carriers with respect to the release of Windows Phone on their devices.

In 2011, HTC released an updated version of the HTC HD7 as the HTC HD7S. It has a 5-megapixel camera with dual LED flash, a 4.3-inch screen and HTC Hub, a graphical user interface bearing a slight similarity to HTC Sense. HTC also released the HTC Titan in 2011, with a 4.7" Super-LCD screen. Similarly in 2011, the Samsung Focus S was added as an updated Focus, and the Focus Flash was added as an entry-level device.

In 2012, AT&T added the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 as the first two LTE Windows Phones available in the US. Shortly thereafter, the Samsung Focus 2 was made available.

As of August 14, 2012, AT&T Wireless was offering five Windows Phone devices for purchase on their web site: the Lumia 900, Focus Flash, 2, and S, and HTC Titan II.

4G LTE[edit]

In a BBDO campaign for 4G and 4G LTE started in November 2012, Beck Bennett interviewed children in commercials directed by Jorma Taccone, with the slogan "It's not complicated." The children were asked whether fast or slow is better, or whether two is better than one.[62][63][64] Taccone said "The spots are 'guided' improv", meaning the children were allowed to be natural until others had to step in and help.[63]

Calling plans and features[edit]

AT&T Mobility sells a variety of wireless services, including individual plans, family plans, and GoPhone (prepaid) plans.

Mobile to Mobile[edit]

All postpaid monthly rate plans (and most prepaid plans) include unlimited minutes for calls to or from any of AT&T's wireless subscribers. Night and weekend minutes were deducted before unlimited M2M minutes until March 2010, in which AT&T stated on wireless bills that M2M minutes would no longer deplete N/W minutes on plans without unlimited N/W minutes. As of November 2009, all postpaid voice plans (except for the "Nation 450" ) include unlimited night and weekend usage. If all N&W voice minutes are used, calls placed to non-AT&T wireless customers are deducted from the monthly package of anytime minutes. Any unused "anytime" minutes rollover to the next month, and expire after 12 months if not used.

Mobile to Any Mobile[edit]

On February 10, 2011, AT&T started offering unlimited mobile calling to any mobile phone on any service provider bundled with unlimited messaging (text, picture, and video).[65][66]

AT&T A-List[edit]

As of September 2011 "AT&T A-List" is no longer offered, although it is still supported for existing customers who currently have it.

AT&T Unity[edit]

AT&T Unity is a service offered for users of landline and wireless AT&T service. It provides free unlimited calling to users of AT&T landline and wireless services. AT&T Unity customers also receive "Rollover" minutes and night and unlimited weekend minutes. (As of early 2010 "AT&T Unity" is no longer offered, although it is still supported for existing customers who have it.)

Mobile-phone insurance[edit]

AT&T Mobility allows its customers to have mobile phone insurance in case of loss or accidental damage. Asurion is the administrator of the insurance program from AT&T. All phones are covered under the mobile phone insurance plan except AT&T GoPhones.[67] Customers are required to pay a deductible for each time they make an insurance claim, and are only allowed two claims per 12-month period.

As of July 17, 2011 AT&T and Asurion announced that the Apple iPhone will be insurable with their Mobile Protection Pack service.

Slogans[edit]

  • "What do you have to say?" (2000-2002)
  • "Fits you best" (2002–2004)
  • "Raising the bar" (2004–2006)
  • "More bars, In More places" (2006 to 2007)
  • "Your world. Delivered" (2007-2010)
  • "Rethink possible" (2010-2014)
  • "Mobilizing Your World" (2014- Present)

Controversies[edit]

Cingular/AT&T NASCAR sponsorship controversy[edit]

The #31 car of Jeff Burton without AT&T sponsorship at Bristol Motor Speedway

Cingular Wireless began its sponsorship of the #31 Chevrolet, owned by Richard Childress Racing, in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2002. Two years later, when Nextel Communications (now Sprint Corporation) purchased the naming rights to NASCAR's top division (rebranding the division as the Nextel Cup, and later the Sprint Cup), Cingular and Alltel, sponsor of the #12 Dodge (owned by Penske Racing and driven by Ryan Newman), were allowed to stay as sponsors under a grandfather clause. In early 2007, following its purchase by AT&T, Cingular began a re-branding effort to the AT&T Mobility brand. NASCAR quickly claimed that a clause in their contract with Sprint Nextel would not allow Cingular to change either the name or brand advertised on the #31 car.

After trying and failing to persuade NASCAR to approve the addition of the AT&T globe logo to the rear of the car, AT&T filed a lawsuit against NASCAR on March 16, 2007. On May 18, AT&T won a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta and, following a failed emergency motion for a stay by NASCAR on May 19, re-branded the #31 car, driven by Jeff Burton, in time for the Nextel All-Star Challenge that evening.[68][69] NASCAR was later granted an appeal to be heard on August 2.

On June 17, NASCAR announced it had filed a US$100 million lawsuit against AT&T and would like AT&T and all other telecommunications companies out of the sport in 2008.[70]

On August 13, a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit cleared the way for NASCAR to prevent AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on the car. The 11th Circuit threw out a lower court's ruling that prevented NASCAR from stopping AT&T's plans. The appeals court remanded the case to the district court.[71]

At first practice for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, the #31 car was colored orange and black, but was bare; that is, no primary sponsor (but associate sponsors appeared) were on the car, similar to Formula One cars run in races where tobacco advertising was prohibited. The pit crew wore grey Richard Childress Racing shirts and Burton had a plain orange fire suit with associate sponsors. The car which carried a "subliminal advertising" scheme arrived in a black hauler with only the number 31 on the side. NASCAR officials said the car would not have made it through inspection with the AT&T logos.[72] During that weekend, AT&T claimed that two alternate paint schemes proposed by AT&T—one advertising its "go phone" and another with the old Cingular slogan "more bars in more places" that AT&T recently brought back—were rejected by NASCAR. The Go Phone scheme had been used in the past.[73] NASCAR later denied these claims.[74]

The car remained bare on race night on August 25, although ESPN aired the AT&T logo during shots from its in-car camera. Fox Sports had done so earlier in the dispute, with the words "Cingular is the new AT&T" on-screen during these shots.

On September 7, 2007, a settlement was reached where AT&T Mobility could remain on the #31 car until the end of 2008, but the associate sponsorship of the #29 Nationwide Series Holiday Inn Chevrolets not affected because they are in lower series. [75]

Richard Childress Racing announced the AT&T Mobility sponsorship will move to Grand American Road Racing Association sportscar racing in 2009 with the sponsorship of the Childress-Howard Motorsports #4 AT&T Pontiac Daytona Prototype sportscar. Childress is a part-owner of this team.

Data-throttling policy[edit]

In 2012, AT&T came under scrutiny for throttling the speed of data delivered to consumers with an unlimited data plan. The company has claimed that, despite its claim of network speeds, it is within its legal rights to reduce the speed of data to consumers who reach preset thresholds. In May 2012, Matt Spaccarelli, a truck driver, won a small claims lawsuit against the company for slowing down his service. A Simi Valley, Calif. judge awarded Spaccarelli $850, agreeing that "unlimited" service shouldn't be subject to slowdowns.[76] Additionally, AT&T's user agreement does not permit class-action suits against the company.[77]

Mobility Administrative Fee[edit]

In May 2013, AT&T added a 61 cent fee per month per line to all of its wireless postpaid lines, including lines still under service contract. The fee appears "below the line" making it appear like a tax at the bottom of a customer's phone bill. This fee is thought to bring more than a half-billion dollars in a year for AT&T, which claims the fee is for covering the cost of cell sites and maintenance.[78]

Since the service contract contains a clause stating that customers to terminate their contract without paying an early termination fee when AT&T increases the price of service, customers have called AT&T to terminate their contract. However, customer service representatives refuse to acknowledge the fee as an AT&T charge some even going as far as to claim that it is a government tax. Some AT&T subscribers have reported that they have successfully cancelled their contracts by filing a notice of dispute. While their contracts were terminated and they could cancel service without penalty, their upgrade eligibility dates for new cell phones remained the same.[79]

Other AT&T Prepaid brands[edit]

Competitors[edit]

AT&T is the largest mobile carrier in the United States, based on customer totals. Some of AT&T's competitors are (from largest to smallest):

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grading the top U.S. wireless carriers in the first quarter of 2014 Read more: Grading the top U.S. wireless carriers in the first quarter of 2014 - FierceWireless http://www.fiercewireless.com/special-reports/grading-top-us-wireless-carriers-first-quarter-2014". FierceWireless. April 22, 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ "10.2 Percent Wireless Revenue Growth, Record Net Adds and Smartphone Sales Highlight AT&T's First-Quarter Results". www.att.com. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Cingular is now the new AT&T." AT&T press release. January 12, 2007.
  4. ^ Raice, Shayndi (March 21, 2011). "AT&T to Buy Rival in $39 Billion Deal". The Wall Street Journal. 
  5. ^ Marguerite Reardon (December 19, 2011). "AT&T finally ditched its plan to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion on Monday, after months of intense lobbying". CNET. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ AT&T Customers Enjoy Unlimited Calling to Their A-List, ATT.com, September 9, 2009
  7. ^ DeKok, David (January 11, 2006). "Employees at Cingular join union, get contract". The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News). 
  8. ^ Communication Workers of America, AT&T Mobility/Cingular section.
  9. ^ CINGULAR WIRELESS LLC Annual Report 10-K, 2004
  10. ^ AT&T’s Sigman to Retire; de la Vega to Lead Wireless Unit; Stankey to Lead Telecom Operations : CEOWORLD.BIZ
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Bulletin Doc. No. 06-1740
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ Caribbean Net News "Digicel to acquire Cingular's Caribbean wireless operations", June 23, 2005
  14. ^ Caribbean Net News "Cingular denies leaving Caribbean because of losses or poor performance", June 23, 2005
  15. ^ Caribbean Net News "Digicel awaits regulatory approval from Caribbean territories", June
  16. ^ Caribbean Net News "Digicel officially takes over Cingular in Barbados", December 21, 2005
  17. ^ "AT&T Network and Cingular Really Separate Networks". [dead link]
  18. ^ Redherring.com
  19. ^ AT&T Press Release
  20. ^ New York Times Article on Approved BellSouth merger
  21. ^ AT&T Prepares to ‘De-Brand’ the Cingular Wireless Name
  22. ^ Palm - Support - Product Update 2.11 for Palm Treo 680 smartphone for AT&T
  23. ^ AT&T Completes Acquisition of Dobson Communications to Enhance Wireless Coverage Company press release, retrieved November 16, 2007
  24. ^ AT&T’s purchase of Centennial gets final approval from FCC
  25. ^ Duryee, Tricia (March 20, 2011). "AT&T Agrees to Acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 Billion". All Things Digital. Dow Jones & Company Inc. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  26. ^ Schoenberg, Tom; Forden, Sara; Bliss, Jeff (August 31, 2011). "U.S. Files to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  27. ^ "FCC recommends a hearing to discuss AT&T, T-Mobile Merger". August 31, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  28. ^ "AT&T and Deutsche Telekom Continue to Pursue Sale of DT's U.S. Wireless Assets". Att.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  29. ^ Wallack, Todd (November 1, 2004). "Cingular services up in air / Customers await effects of merger with AT&T Wireless". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  30. ^ a b Fingas, Jon. (August 3, 2012) AT&T plans to shut down entire 2G network by 2017. Engadget.com. Retrieved on August 20, 2013.
  31. ^ "AT&T starts using PCS spectrum for LTE service". 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  32. ^ FCC approves AT&T's 2.3 GHz WCS spectrum plan. FierceWireless (October 17, 2012). Retrieved on August 20, 2013.
  33. ^ Sprint press release
  34. ^ "AT&T closing in on completion of HSUPA upgrade - Engadget". Engadgetmobile.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  35. ^ "MacBlogz " Bridging the Apple Community and Keeping Tabs on the Rumor Mill". Macblogz.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  36. ^ "A note from AT&T CTO John Donovan". Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Best cell service". Consumer Reports (Consumers Union of U.S.). January 2007. Archived from the original on March 15, 2007. Retrieved March 13, 2007. 
  38. ^ Mohl, Bruce (April 23, 2006). "The fewest dropped calls". Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). Retrieved April 27, 2006. 
  39. ^ Belson, Ken (May 3, 2006). "Best Cellphone Company? All of Them, to Hear Them Say It". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 
  40. ^ Gardiner, Bryan (August 23, 2007). "AT&T: ‘More Bars in More Places' is the New ‘Fewest Dropped Calls'". Wired. 
  41. ^ Ho, David (August 25, 2007). "A 300-page iPhone bill? Too much information, users say". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Newspapers. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. "Internet message boards and blogs are buzzing with talk of paper iPhone bills dozens and even hundreds of pages long." 
  42. ^ [2][dead link]
  43. ^ Keizer, Gregg (August 16, 2007). "A 300-page iPhone Bill? : iPhone owners rail at AT&T for paper waste with overly detailed bills". Computerworld. PC World Communications. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. "One blogger, in fact, is in the middle of her 15 minutes of fame after posting a video that shows her unwrapping a 300-page AT&T bill." 
  44. ^ Graham, Jefferson (August 25, 2007). "How many trees did your iPhone bill kill?". USA Today (Gannett). Retrieved August 19, 2007. "Justine Ezarik, a Pittsburgh graphic designer and active Internet blogger, got her first bill on Saturday. She says it was so huge — 300 pages — it was delivered in a box." 
  45. ^ "Apple Sells One Million iPhone 3Gs in First Weekend". apple.com. Apple Inc. July 14, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  46. ^ Quinn, Michelle; Semuels, Alana (August 14, 2008). "Apple looks to Best Buy to boost iPhone's reach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  47. ^ "AT&T to Sell iPhone 3G in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands On Oct. 17". www.att.com. AT&T Inc. September 30, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  48. ^ Slattery, Brennon (June 14, 2010). "Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy to Carry iPhone4". PC World (Telecom Channel Updates). Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  49. ^ a b Hesseldahl, Arik (December 28, 2009). "An AT&T Mystery: Abrupt New York iPhone Shutdown". BusinessWeek. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  50. ^ Northrup, Laura (October 7, 2011). "AT&T Customer Service: "New York City Is Not Ready For The iPhone"". The Consumerist. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  51. ^ "NYC ready for the iPhone: Did AT&T halt online sales due to unlockers? – Cell Phones & Mobile Device Technology News & Updates". Geek.com. December 29, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  52. ^ Sales of the popular iPhone resumed December 30, 2009
  53. ^ Cheng, Roger. "AT&T posts - Mobile - CNET News". News.cnet.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  54. ^ a b "AT&T Announces Availability of First Device on Android Platform with Motorola". www.att.com. AT&T Inc. February 18, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  55. ^ "Motorola BACKFLIP with MOTOBLUR". www.motorola.com. Motorola Inc. Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  56. ^ "MOTOROLA BACKFLIP with MOTOBLUR and Android". wireless.att.com. AT&T Inc. Archived from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  57. ^ "Pocket-Sized HTC Aria to Premiere on Nation's Fastest 3G Network". www.htc.com. HTC Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  58. ^ "HTC Aria Android". www.wireless.att.com. AT&T Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  59. ^ "HTC Mobile Phones - Aria AT&T - Overview". www.htc.com. HTC Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  60. ^ "AT&T releases new 4G Android Smartphones in 2011". www.atrix4gsmartphone.com. Motorola Atrix 4G. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  61. ^ AT&T confirms to devs: Sideloading from here on out. "AT&T confirms to devs: Sideloading from here on out". Android Central. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  62. ^ Johnson, Steve (January 30, 2013). "Beck Bennett's calling answered with AT&T ads". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  63. ^ a b Diaz, Ann-Christine (March 25, 2013). "How AT&T, BBDO Turned Those Talkative Tykes Into Ad Gold". Advertising Age. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  64. ^ Hernandez, Brian Anthony (May 1, 2013). "AT&T's Secret Weapon for Selling 4G: Adorably Hilarious Kids". Mashable. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  65. ^ Hamblen, Matt. "Staff Writer". ComputerWorld. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  66. ^ King, Rachel. "Staff Writer". ZDNet. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  67. ^ "Get Started - from AT&T". Wireless.att.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  68. ^ [3][dead link]
  69. ^ [4][dead link]
  70. ^ "NASCAR News - Breaking News, Insight and Analysis on". Nascar.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  71. ^ Appeals court sides with NASCAR in AT&T dispute NASCAR - August 13, 2007.
  72. ^ As the logo turns: Burton's car missing AT&T again ESPN.
  73. ^ NASCAR rejects proposed paint schemes for No. 31
  74. ^ NASCAR losing patience with AT&T court battle ESPN.
  75. ^ [5][dead link]
  76. ^ "AT&T Comes Clean On Throttling 'Unlimited' Data". Huffington Post. March 1, 2012. 
  77. ^ Reardon, Marguerite. (March 27, 2012) Why you can't sue your wireless carrier in a class action | Signal Strength - CNET News. News.cnet.com. Retrieved on August 20, 2013.
  78. ^ Mihalcik, Carrie. (May 23, 2013) AT&T adds 61-cent 'mobility' fee to wireless bills | Mobile - CNET News. News.cnet.com. Retrieved on October 1, 2013.
  79. ^ huevos. (May 23, 2013) Get out of a post-paid AT&T contract ETF-free (YMMV) 05-23-2013 - Slickdeals.net Slickdeals.net Retrieved on October 1, 2013.

External links[edit]