AT&T is doing for Net Neutrality, what Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby did for Quaaludes! Yesterday was officially the first day Net Neutrality went into effect. I sure wish the oddsmakers in Las Vegas where taking odds on which wireless carrier would first take advantage of this, I would have won a bundle! Today, AT&T is offering "Sponsored" Data and doing exactly what they said they would never do. Thanks, Ajit Pai!
Most people get a warm and fuzzy feeling when they think about AT&T Wireless. They don't realize that the "real AT&T Wireless" ceased to exist many years ago. On October 26, 2004, AT&T Wireless was acquired by Cingular Wireless, a joint venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth, to form the largest wireless carrier in the United States at that time. This was a strategically brilliant move because Cingular, unlike AT&T had a very poor reputation for coverage and customer care.
On November 16, 2004, all those blue AT&T store signs and globe logos were replaced with Cingular's orange signs and logos, but not for very long. Strangely, a few months later, all of the original AT&T stores that were changed to Cingular branding were once again sporting those AT&T blue globe logos again. In fact, all of the original Cingular stores also became AT&T branded stores. I found that to be one of the smartest things SBC management did.
Coincidently, about the same time, there was another wireless telecom company serving the other side of the country called VoiceStream. They also had a poor reputation for coverage and customer service. Their parent, Deutsch Telecom, decided it was time to change their name too. Say hello T-Mobile!
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.