SBC/AT&T Expert Commentary (Part 6)

Greg Galitzine : Greg Galitzine's VoIP Authority Blog
Greg Galitzine

SBC/AT&T Expert Commentary (Part 6)

I received a few more comments on the AT&T/SBC situation.

Robert Lee Harris is president of Communications Advantage, Inc., a telecommunications consulting firm. He specializes in strategic technology acquisition and implementation. He is a member of the Society of Telecommunications Consultants and here's what he had to say:

The potential purchase of AT&T by SBC will create challenges for customers evaluating the two companies’ network infrastructures. It will be hard to plan a future network architecture around either company without knowing what the merged company will end up offering. The merger has to undergo the scrutiny of the FCC, and Public Utility Commissions where SBC is the primary local service provider. Undoubtedly, there will be requirements to sell some assets of at least one of the companies to comply with antitrust laws. At the same time, don’t count on SBC doing much in the next year to expand their own nationwide network presence. With the assets of the country’s largest carrier within their grasp, why would SBC continue to extend the reach of their own voice and data network when it will all fall into their hands once the regulatory requirements are satisfied?

There is a lot of hype about the purchase restoring domestic telecommunications services to a "Ma Bell" type monopoly. In reality, it is very doubtful that SBC/ATT will ever become a seamless pre-divestiture style telco carrier. A good example of a painful merger is last decade’s purchase of MCI by WorldCom. Up until the bankruptcy, both companies retained many disparate service and billing platforms, and WorldCom ultimately failed in converting the MCI brand name into a WorldCom asset (or succeeded just in time for "WorldCom" to become a byword). Even when the deal is signed and approved, it could take years before the companies are merged organizationally. Order processes and billing systems need to be integrated along with the networks. None of these are small tasks, and none of this will even begin to take place until after the purchase is reviewed and approved. It will end up being many years before SBC will be able to leverage its new, massive presence.

Featured Events