AT&T's Randall Stephenson: Don't dork up the rules

AT&T's Randall Stephenson: Don't dork up the rules

Summary: Following are quotes from AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson from his interview with John Battelle at the Web 2.0 Summit.


Following are quotes from AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson from his interview with John Battelle at the Web 2.0 Summit.


On Net Neutrality

We all want the same thing. We are kind of new in this, and we all want the Internet to flourish and grow rapidly. We come at it from infrastructure and we are plowing a ton of money. We are learning how to work together. Don't regulate until there is a problem.

The rules get dorked up and nobody will invest in these businesses.

If somebody steps out of line they need to be slapped--don't mess with the business model.


I speak to politicians all the time. The American experience endures by its economic strength. Things that increase the velocity of commerce will strengthen the economy....I am all about making sure the velocity of commerce increases all the time. Communications is the hub and it is slowed down by putting rules on telecommunications. If I could wave a magic wand, I would say get the hell out of telecom unless there is a problem.

Technology has bypassed regulation. The rules are not keeping pace with technology. We can put in a 25-megabit pipe with Internet access, but if want to stream video down that pipe you need a franchise authority to approve it. Get the rules out of the way and let companies invest.

I am into selling ones and zeros and transporting them better than anybody else.

On competing with 800 Google 411

We better get our advertising supported service out. We are developing it ourselves and it will scale.

Why the iPhone is on the slower EDGE network

Steve Jobs wanted to be on the EDGE network. He wanted the broadest, most ubiquitous data network. It's the only one that covers the entire country.

Wi-Fi is a pretty darn good surrogate for 3G. We have to give customers what they want.

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Hardware, Networking, Telcos, AT&T, Wi-Fi

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  • AT&T is concerned about their own...

    velocity of commerce. Just like every other corporation.

    What needs to be looked out for is the consumer. And just because AT&T pads their coffers it's not a sign it is best for the consumer and the economy as a whole.

    If we had a "Perfect Economy", regulations would be a no-no. But there is no such thing as a perfect economy and regulations will always be needed to level the playing field. This is straight from Economics 101.

    Big corporations want the best of both worlds. Especially Telco's. They were handed them their position as a utility. The government guaranteed them a profit and the rate payers built the infrastructure. Now they want to act like they built everything in a competitive market which just isn't so.
    • Very true but...

      Regulations dont level the playing field, they tilt it towards those who are more politically adept. And the regulations usually create new problems which then require more regulations...and then the cycle repeats..

      This is straight from The Real World 101.
  • Scuse me???

    "but don't mess with the business model"?? It's exactly your biz models that the vast majority of consumers have a problem with! And why we demand more regulation in order to stop getting ripped off! The tying of phones to particular providers is a prime example of this...there's *zero* technical reason why this has to be done, and yet it is. It's because of the faulty business model. Lock in the customer, rather than provide the best service, easy support, and fair pricing, and gain their loyalty that way. Same deal with cable companies and their incessant price increases and gouging. They finally have a little competition from the dish guys, but there is still a fundamental biz model problem with *both*: I can't just pay for the individual channels I want!! I'd really, really like to order a set of about 8 or 10 channels and pay per channel. Perfectly feasible technically. But will it ever happen, unless there is either a major customer revolt, regulation...or perhaps...dare I say...a ground shifting offering by an upstart? I dunno when you guys will get it...clearly by reading your executive drivel, you still don't.
    • Wrong

      Only elimination of dirty socialist regulations will ever help any such situation. That way, companies will be afraid of consumers as they should be--whereas more & more regulations only reinforce their quasi-monopoly position because less competition is possible and consumers become trapped with limited choice.

      Such has been true for centuries. Only socialists--whether acting as corporate representatives or individual crybabies--try to use government for their own personal gain. Socialism is cancer; freed markets are the answer.
  • Huh ???

    "If somebody steps out of line they need to be slapped but don?t mess with the business model."

    Well maybe AT&T is the one who forced Apple to brick the iPhone based his attitude

    "We are learning how to work together. Don?t regulate until there is a problem."

    Well there are problems now, I think AT&T needs to be broken back down to their separate business units again.
  • lol

    [i]I speak to politicians all the time.[/i]

    Well this comes as no surprise.
  • Really...

    "We all want the same thing. We are kind of NEW in this, and we all want the Internet to flourish and grow rapidly. We come at it from infrastructure and we are plowing a ton of money. "

    at&t "new" in the internet? This guy just woke up like Rip Van Winkle? Read "plow ton of money" into Harvesting for ever and ever and ever and ever without interference.

    Yup need to buy at&t stock now.
  • US telecom is not the best

    For all this talk about "the American Experience", lets face it: the US telecom industry isn't, in any way, superior to those of e.g. Japan, Korea, or even Europe.

    People in those countries have more choice, lower prices, and no less quality than in the US. Seen against this light one might really ask if "the American Experience" has a value in and by itself when applied to telecoms.

    Quite apart from the question of whether AT&T is a neutral and trustworthy source of information on what is "best" for the telecom industry.
    • Couldn't agree more!

      My European friends laugh at me when I tell them the speeds I am getting! I guess
      the "American Experience" means having to accept that the rest of the world is
      passing us by.
  • RE: AT&T's Randall Stephenson: Don't dork up the rules

    WoW! 20 words from the blogger and a few dozen more from the interviewer! This is Vista WoW! in progress!!!! ;-)
    • re: nomoremicrosoft

      "WoW! 20 words from the blogger and a few dozen more from the interviewer! This is Vista WoW! in progress!!!!"

      I'd like to know what Windows Vista or World of Warcraft have to do with AT&T and dorking up the rules...
      M.R. Kennedy
  • iPhone top seller for AT&T, 4th best selling in USA

    Where is ZDNet on this info? Oh yea, ZDNet is Ziff-Davis for disinformation:

    "iPhone top seller for AT&T
    As reported by DigiTimes, ? ?the iPhone has become AT&T?s top selling device,
    commanding some 13% of AT&T?s overall handset sales, and the fourth top selling
    handset in the US market,? according to Barry Gilbert, VP of the Strategy Analytics
    BuyerTRAX programs.? What?s more, DigiTimes also quotes Gilbert as indicating
    that ? ? the sales trajectory we are observing with the iPhone could make it the top
    selling device in the US over the next 1-2 quarters.? ? [Oct 19, 2007]"

    AT&T needs to listen to Apple, they know WTF they are talking about and what they
    are doing, better than any tech company on earth.
  • Mr. Stevenson should take his own advice to heart...

    especially when it comes to the illegal wiretapping conspiracy they have with the NSA.
    Mr. Roboto
  • ATT->Cingular->ATT

    Has nobody see the fast one that ATT pulled.

    ATT wanted to buy Cingular and merge it into ATT wireless about 6 years ago, but the regulators bulked at the idea. So The sold off ATT Wireless to Cingular making it the largest Cellphone company. 5 years later they decide they want to get into the Cell phone business. Bingo bango they now have the business that they want before and the regulators look the other way because there is no merger just a flat out buy. I bet someone got a good bonus for that little move.
  • LOL - all big bucks

    I had to laugh at this one - he's looking the interiewer straight in the eye and saying AT&T is legally robbing everyone blind and running to the bank with every cent gotten... I hope Congress wises up and slaps tons of regulations on the telecom industry and forces it to open itself up.
  • Winner; Janus Two-Faced Corp Award

    AT&T don't need no stinkin' regulations; unless of course it wants to enforce an overly broad patent from the last century to stick it to Vonage. AT&T should be broken up again.