The D9 conference currently being held in California saw some tough questioning from hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher who put AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega in the hot seat. Walt and Kara really took it to de la Vega and pushed him to answer questions regarding AT&T’s network quality and why they should be trusted with T-Mobile and therefore running the nations largest wireless network. We followed the live blog from the boys over at Thisismynext.com and found some choice quotes to give you an idea as to what went down:
- Walt asked: “Why should we believe that AT&T is competent enough to manage the biggest carrier in the US, reducing the competition when you are constantly rated at one of the worst services.”
- De la Vega responded: AT&T isn’t happy about the situation and they take it seriously and they are trying to improve on it and they’ve done much better in the last two years. The explosion in data growth is bigger than anything the world has ever seen and with more smartphones than any other carrier customers are using more data.
- Mossberg continued to push the issue that customers in areas like San Francisco and New York City aren’t happy with AT&T no matter the commitments they’ve made to make the service better.
- De la Vega compares MetroPCS numbers to AT&T and I think he is delusional to believe they are competitive. He clearly is avoiding the point Walt is trying to make…that AT&T already has a huge marketshare.
- AT&T understands the opposition to deal but believes the choice to purchase T-Mobile is best for all parties.
- De la Vega continues to impress on the idea that Sprint will be fine and says they can purchase Clearwire and Walt hits back by calling him on the idea that the Sprint CEO left the Clearwire board and that they are competitors.
- De la Vega says in the last 10 years the prices of wireless service have dropped more than 50% and Mossberg responds by saying his bill hasn’t gone down. The crowd gasped at that one.
- Question from the audience asked about AT&T keeping T-Mobile’s UMA/Wi-Fi calling service and De la Vega said they are very interested in it but they are not allowed to look at the data for it until the merger is done.
- De la Vega says if the merger doesn’t go through AT&T can still deploy LTE to more than 80% of the country, 97% with T-Mobile. Why on earth are we letting AT&T gobble up a competitor for 17%???????
I highly suggest you take a look at the Thisismynext live blog linked at the end of the post and get the full breakdown of todays interview. The embedded video handles the Walt Mossberg question regarding AT&T’s ability to handle a combined T-Mobile and AT&T network. It’s pretty great!