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December 07, 2010

Glenn Lurie - ATT President Emerging Devices (Walt)

Glenn Lurie - ATT President Emerging Devices (Walt)

Walt: consumer reports this week noted that you have the least reliable network. How did that happen? Glenn: we want feedback. We've had great success. We have a lot of partners. Did we like what we read? No. Will we dig into it? Yes. The reality of a wireless network is that you want to know where it's not working.

Walt: speed is one thing. Voice is another. Why haven't you been able to fix the dropped calls problem. Glenn: 5000% increase in data usage in the last 5 years. iPhone, cards, other emerging devices. This is significantly bigger than anyone has seen in the world. The growth curve isn't slowing down it is speeding up. Applications are going faster and faster. We had to deal with it first.

Walt: you have this huge data pressure. How does this relate to voice? Glenn: it is about capacity. How many times defies owing our network. Our vendors have also never seen this kind of growth. In SF and NYC those are the hot spots.

Walt: your service has improved where I live in DC but my calls still drop and it is not a rare event. Aren't you the dog chasing the car that will never catch it? Glenn: I am help accountable for the business via our results. Our third quarter results were record growth in adds, churn low, revenue up. We spent 18.5 Bi last year and this year in network investment.

Walt: difference in usage between platforms? iPhone and Android are similar. Seeing usage go up in Torch but a little bit less.

Walt: what about iPhone going to Verizon? Glenn: we had the Razor exclusively at launch and people then said Cingular would be dead. Didn't happen. We have come out and have said publicly that we are not concerned about churn to Verizon if that ever happens.

Walt: Randall (CEO) said that many customers were locked into plans. Glenn: family plans are very popular. iPhone has made a nice leap into the business world. Android is doing very well. We are excited about WP and seeing nie results. For now we are the only provider in the US that has every device.

Emerging devices: from the computers on your desk to vehicle telematics to smart grid to tablets to wireless laptops, we look at every device and every business model. We are doing wholesale, prepaid as with the iPad. We focused on the activation process and the rate plans are prepaid in nature. We also put in there the ability to understand how much you use. People like this activation process.new want to give customers the best rate structure so we are not subsidizing the device for the Galaxy tablet. Today there are there ereaders - Amazon, Nook, Sony - all three are on our network. Amazon is a wholesale customer, how they GTM is up to them. Credits Amazon for their model and customer experience.

Walt: how much time did iPhone take? Glenn: we meet with Apple in early 05 and we talk all the time. I talk to Tim Cook almost every day.

Walt: if your network is in bad shape why are you adding more devices before getting the network right? Glenn: devices that are bursty not thirsty are ok but other devices like tablets and certain users drive big traffic. We analyze and tune our network every day.

Walt: isn't it important that your consumer reputation isn't damaged? Glenn: yes this is core and fundamental to what we do every day but at the same time our results have been really good.

Walt: If and when Verizon gets the iPhone (they already have Android) do you think their network is going to be strained. Glenn: I don't wish ill will on my competition. Have they done what they need to do to prepare for usage? I don't know. What I am saying is that we have done a lot of work and spending to improve our network and the stats are showing that.

Walt: 4G. You seem to be the vaguest about it. Verizon and Sprint are ahead of you. T-Mobile has done a labeling move. Whe n, how man cities and when in 2011? Glenn: customer care about their experiences more than acronyms. We are going HSPA+. we have. O ut it into the network we are in the process of building out. The backhaul. It's a type of 3G. The key is the customer experience. What happens when you roam outside of the high speed enabled areas, need to be able to degrade gracefully.

Audience: RIM holds on better than iPhone in the same network. Glenn: these are consumer electronic devices, we go through extensive certification, are they going to be different, yes.

Audience: no ATT logo on the iPhone, no logo on Kindle. Why is the carrier hidden and how is this good for ATT? Glenn: in wholesale we leave it up to the customer depending on what they are looking for. All our agreements are custom depending on the requirements of the wholesale customer. On iphone you see it on the box and the network identifier. Some of it is about brand, some of it is about profit.

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