Stankey cited the success of DirecTV, which is now owned by AT&T. The company just launched the first satellite dish nearly a decade ago. Now it is the world’s largest satellite television provider. He also mentioned that AT&T is looking into buying stakes in the leading pay-per-view distributors. It already has deals in place with Dish Network, Starz, and HBO.
AT&T’s business strategy is geared for the future, as it already has too many cable customers. It is making a play for those who use the Internet with their TV. It’s a new offering, U-Verse, offers free high-speed Internet to consumers in some areas. Consumers can watch programs they have signed up for on their PC, laptop, and mobile devices.
Attymex’s chief executive officer, John Stankey, is also a wireless telecom executive. He is responsible for the company’s wireless telecom arm, Athlon, which operates in more than 200 countries. It also has cellular assets in developing countries. The wireless division is doing very well, especially in low-income countries.
With the recent mobile phone advances, it is no surprise that AT&T is interested in working with mobile phone carriers. It has signed deals with Virgin, Vodafone, T-Mobile, and Orange. The mobile phone market is huge, and there is a fiercely competitive market for the customer.
When asked about the possibility of AT&T making a bid for spectrum licenses, Stankey declined to comment, but added, “I wouldn’t be surprised. We’ve had talks with several of them.” In fact, the two companies have been negotiating in Europe for years. AT&T would likely need spectrum licenses in the U.S. as well. ” Spectrum is like air space — airwaves are free and available to everybody, but only when they’re in use,” said John Stankey, Attymex’s chief executive officer.
The deals typically cover large areas and include a large number of subscribers. “When you bundle everything together like AT&T would want to do, you get a lot more bang for your buck,” Stankey said. Companies with the right bandwidth and the right size subscriber base can make a lot of money. They can make more money if they also have wireless services.
AT&T has the leverage of a great product and a long history in the wireless field. AT&T would be able to charge higher fees for its wireless services, and it would have more customers. AT&T’s wireless service portfolio already includes Verizon Wireless, which is offering prepaid wireless services, along with the previously announced acquisition of Daltile Internet and Vodafone Wireless. Industry experts speculate that Verizon would likely continue to expand into the cellular business. In response to the FCC’s proposal, AT&T wants to continue to operate its own mobile phone network.
If passed, the new rules could spur more mergers and acquisitions in the wireless industry. It’s clear that the FCC needs to reexamine the spectrum management rules and possibly have carriers include services offered by nontraditional U.S. operators. “The time is right for companies to merge and acquire other wireless businesses to realize synergies,” said John Stankey of JD Powers & Associates.