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AT+T does not add T-Mobile
August 31, 2011 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Justice Department (apparently) blocks the merger of AT+T and T-Mobile. The Associated Press is reporting that Justice will block the deal because "would reduce competition and raise prices."

Sprint, the US #3 carrier, objected to the deal, as did many consumer groups.

If the merger denial survives the probable court challenge, AT+T will be on the hook for up to US$6 Billion in "breakup fees."
posted by andreaazure (135 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Psyched. I have been a loyal T-Mobile customer for nearly 10 years and was distraught at having to give that up because I will not do business with AT&T. I'd rather go without a cell phone.

Although it's slipped a bit, T-Mobile customer service puts everyone else's to shame, still. Coverage is not quite as good, but it works everywhere I need it to, pretty much, and unlimited data and low cost no-contract plans make it the only choice for me. But really, all you need is one customer service nightmare with AT&T or Verizon to appreciate TMo's best asset, which is to say, nice people who care about keeping you as a customer.

Now if only the rumors of a (non-jailbroken) T-Mobile or generic GSM iPhone would come true.
posted by spitbull at 8:42 AM on August 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


Good to see stronger anti-trust enforcement. You kinda knew this was gonna happen when all the DC TV stations ran pro-merger ads. You don't shell out like that unless your back-and-forth with the Antitrust division aint going well.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:42 AM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've said more than once on the blue that the day this merger happens is the day I walk away from T-Mobile. I never want to give AT+T my money again. I am very, very pleased with this result.
posted by andreaazure at 8:44 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the alternative, keep this in mind.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:45 AM on August 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


I'm another TMO customer who'd walk rather than deal with AT&T. I'm old enough to remember exactly why Ma Bell got broken up. And grumpy enough not to put up with being treated like a money cow in return for broken services.
posted by QIbHom at 8:45 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was agog until I clicked inside and saw that a major corporation opposed it.

Now we need to convince Sprint that breaking up the media market would also be in their interests.
posted by DU at 8:46 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


See what happens when you don't select me for your document review team T-Mobile? Whose time off requests are unreasonable now, bitches.

/so glad I'm not doing contract doc review right now
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:46 AM on August 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Good to see stronger anti-trust enforcement. You kinda knew this was gonna happen when all the DC TV stations ran pro-merger ads. You don't shell out like that unless your back-and-forth with the Antitrust division aint going well.

What numbnuts thought it was a good idea to bring public attention to an action that would negatively impact the public? PR fail.

(Yay, though.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:46 AM on August 31, 2011


If T-Mobile fails as a result of blocking this merger, doesn't that even further reduce competition? DT said they aren't going to sink any more money into it, so it seems like that's a possibility.

Monopoly isn't size, it is behavior.

(As an aside, I have been an AT&T subscriber forever, and I honestly have no idea how their customer service is, because nothing ever breaks. I've heard more than one drawn out saga about T-Mobil's less than stellar CS, however. FWIW. )
posted by gjc at 8:47 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I sure hope this is true, but all we've got is the word of an anonymous "person familiar with the matter." I'm not breaking out the champagne quite yet.

Oh, and if you think AT&T doesn't give a rat's ass about their customers, you should see how they treat their employees.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:47 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


all we've got is the word of an anonymous "person familiar with the matter."

Department of Justice press release.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sprint could actually try to buy T-Mo now.
posted by oddman at 8:49 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google could actually try to buy T-Mo now.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 AM on August 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


If T-Mobile fails as a result of blocking this merger, doesn't that even further reduce competition?

Someone will pick up the pieces.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:50 AM on August 31, 2011


oddman: I thought the same thing. How much of this is about anti-trust, and how much is it about Sprint being a poor loser and hoping to use the government to help them but T-Mobile instead?
posted by gjc at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2011


I could actually try to buy T-Mo now.

No, seriously, I just got a raise.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


If T-Mobile fails as a result of blocking this merger

If T-Mobile gets the iPhone 5 (I don't trust the rumor started by 'Mactrast'), they're good. Scores of people are likely to jump if they don't get the iPhone 5. Please get the iPhone 5, T-Mobile.
posted by cashman at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2011


If T-Mobile fails as a result of blocking this merger, doesn't that even further reduce competition?

They'll probably be a bit better off with an extra $6 billion in the bank.
posted by grouse at 8:52 AM on August 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


Monopoly isn't size, it is behavior.

Not so.

Granted, my antitrust experience is limited to 1L clerking in a state attorney general's office in that section. But it is size first. There's a formula, actually, the Hoffman-Hertzendahl (?) Index which is often at the core of these calculations.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:55 AM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Cortex and company: I would love the DOJ press release to replace the subject of this post, with also removing the word (apparently) also removed. Ahh, fast-moving stories.
posted by andreaazure at 8:55 AM on August 31, 2011


I think another big global telecom should buy T-Mo USA from DT. Someone like Telefonica. I say this because the new carrier will need to spend $$$ on building out LTE and have global deals with the handset manufacturers to make sure it can compete with AT&T and Verizon.
posted by birdherder at 8:56 AM on August 31, 2011


Hold on. (pinches self). Nope, not dreaming. Cannot believe this at all.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:57 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, 6 billion buys a lot of network coverage improvements.

gjc, I'm sure there have been some TMo nightmares too. It's a cellular provider. Not sucking is as good as you can expect. But consider yourself blessed that you have never had a billing problem or a tech problem with AT&T. Ask almost anyone who has. It's Kafka territory.
posted by spitbull at 8:58 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


andreaazure, you'll probably want to use the contact form to make that happen.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:00 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And just to add: SUCK IT AT&T.
posted by spitbull at 9:00 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


“I will assure that we will have an antitrust division that is serious about pursuing cases,” the Illinois senator told an audience of mostly senior citizens in Oregon.
“There are going to be areas, in the media for example where we’re seeing more and more consolidation, that I think (it) is legitimate to ask…is the consumer being served?”

“We’re going to have an antitrust division in the Justice Department that actually believes in antitrust law. We haven’t had that for the last seven, eight years,” he said.
“Some of the consolidations that have been taking place, I think, may be anti-competitive.”
Obama advisers have said previously that he would crack down on any competition lapses in the energy sector that have resulted from big corporate mergers.
http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/idUKN1849107920080518?irpc=932
posted by Ironmouth at 9:02 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hold on a minute, did somebody just regulate something? I didn't think that could happen. Not in Amurca.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 9:02 AM on August 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think another big global telecom should buy T-Mo USA from DT. Someone like Telefonica.

As long as it's not Telmex.
posted by kmz at 9:06 AM on August 31, 2011


Holy shit, the Justice Department does something right for a change? Did I wake up in Bizarroland today?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:07 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


(As an aside, I have been an AT&T subscriber forever, and I honestly have no idea how their customer service is, because nothing ever breaks. I've heard more than one drawn out saga about T-Mobil's less than stellar CS, however. FWIW. )

I've been burned so bad by AT&T that I actually wouldn't care if their customer service became the best ever in the world, and they gave out steak and great oral sex with every signup. I still wouldn't give them any money if there's another competitor available for less than twice the monthly price. It's pure unreasoning spite at this point, and I make no apologies for not being rational on the subject. As a T-Mobile customer I'm stoked, and as someone who cares about how the regional landline monopolies have leveraged their advantage to destroy competition in at least three different commercial sectors and create a huge drag on American businesses.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:07 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I expect to hear the talking heads ranting about how Obama Administration is interfering with free markets, etc.

Still this is stellar news. Keeping parity between the Death Star and Verizon is a good thing. Otherwise Verizon and Sprint were going to have to look to follow suit and we'd have two companies that I don't particularly care for.

I'm still not sure T Mobile won't need a buyer to enable them to expand their network but a AT&T/T-Mobile merger was simply bad for consumers.
posted by vuron at 9:08 AM on August 31, 2011


Now we need to convince Sprint that breaking up the media market would also be in their interests.

Wasn't this the plot of Inception?
posted by synthetik at 9:08 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ma Bell's zombie corpse needs further decapitation, but this is a good start.

Sent from my bitchin' 4G T-Mobile G2x that rates around 10 Mbps download speeds in my home town
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:10 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ma Bell was awesome. SBC, her evil bastard child that ate her and wears her skin like a suit needs to be killed, buried, and the earth salted so that nothing can grow from its remains.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:13 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somebody's campaign contribution check just bounced...
posted by dr_dank at 9:13 AM on August 31, 2011


Heh. SBC is kind of like Norman Bates now that you mention it.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:14 AM on August 31, 2011


As long as it's not Telmex.

Carlos Slim's América Móvil already operates MVNOs in the US under the names TracFone and Net 10.
posted by birdherder at 9:16 AM on August 31, 2011


There's a formula, actually, the Hoffman-Hertzendahl (?) Index which is often at the core of these calculations.


Herfindahl–Hirschman. Its the Sum of the Squared market shares.

I think this is a good thing, but it probably just means T-Mobile slowly shrinks until someone other than an incumbent buys them for some fraction of the original price paid for spectrum. Telefonica ain't walking through that door, Orange ain't walking through that door...
posted by JPD at 9:16 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


If T-Mobile fails as a result of blocking this merger, doesn't that even further reduce competition?

They'll probably be a bit better off with an extra $6 billion in the bank.
posted by grouse at 8:52 AM on August 31 [+] [!]


6 Billion that AT&T will have to extract from their customers, presumably. Doesn't seem like a win for the consumer.

Ironmouth: you are right to the extent that it is impossible to be a monopoly without marketshare, but there is no harm to the consumer if a large company doesn't do bad things. Nonetheless, according to some website that google provided, the resulting company would only have 40-something percent of the marketshare. I don't see how competition suffers.
posted by gjc at 9:17 AM on August 31, 2011


Justice Department (apparently) blocks the merger of AT+T and T-Mobile.

Justice department files suit to attempt to block the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. Given the $6B that AT&T will lose if this doesn't go through, you can assume that AT&T has $6B to spend to win this case.
posted by eriko at 9:17 AM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


6 Billion that AT&T will have to extract from their customers, presumably.

Or those customers could switch to TMo. And if TMo does get the iPhone legit this fall, I know dozens of people who will do just that.
posted by spitbull at 9:18 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is great news. Just think what Obama could do if there was always an election coming up.
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:19 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


the resulting company would only have 40-something percent of the marketshare. I don't see how competition suffers.


Its not just the 40%, its also that Verizon has about another 40% - that's a pretty strong duopoly. The question is if they try to act like a duopoly will the smaller players go along, or try to grab share. That's mostly a function of the marginal cost economics of the small players. That's the question to be answered. My guess is up to a certain point they won't play along, but if that means T and VZ cede 10% market share each to create "disciplined pricing" they probably will.
posted by JPD at 9:21 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the alternative, keep this in mind.

Recall that former Senator Obama was among the legislators who gave immunity to AT&T (and other telecoms) from consequences for Bush's illegal wiretapping scandal.

A stopped clock is not a great way to tell the time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hold on a minute, did somebody just regulate something? I didn't think that could happen. Not in Amurca.

Nate Dogg would like a word with you my good sir/madam.
posted by elizardbits at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


pleaseletitbetrue...pleaseletitibetrue...
posted by briank at 9:23 AM on August 31, 2011


Okay, so seeing as some daylight is actually getting into the orifices currently storing their heads, is there any way we can get them to undo the Comcast-NBC merger?
posted by smirkette at 9:23 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah if Verizon and AT&T become a duopoly then from a cost and service perspective we'd all do much worse.

Right now Verizon and AT&T function kinda like the premium service providers while T-Mobile and Sprint seem to fill the budget role in the market. If T-Mobile and Sprint are squeezed out of the market then there really isn't a budget option and Verizon and AT&T can be much more draconian about their policies.

Considering before too long the market will be pretty much dominated by smart phones using data plans I'm not sure that I want a duopoly to dictate how much I can use their network and for how much.
posted by vuron at 9:26 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right now Verizon and AT&T function kinda like the premium service providers

Ain’t anything premium about their services except price.
posted by spitefulcrow at 9:29 AM on August 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Keeping parity between the Death Star and Verizon is a good thing.

Verizon has had a larger market share for years. 31-25, roughly.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Wireless-Market-Share-By-Device-And-ISP-108292
posted by Ironmouth at 9:30 AM on August 31, 2011


Verizon and AT&T can be much more draconian about their policies.

More draconian than eliminating unlimited data for new users, eliminating choices for SMS plans, and throttling the top 5% of the grandfathered "unlimited" data users? Gosh, I can't wait!
posted by entropicamericana at 9:30 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Price and access to the iPhone. Which still continues to be a major Veblen good for people.
posted by vuron at 9:31 AM on August 31, 2011


And now ATT cranks up its propaganda machine by dangling JOBS in front of consumers. Do I think that 5000 "good-paying wireless call center jobs" will offset the thousands of employees laid off from T-Mobile retail shops? uhh...
posted by TDIpod at 9:32 AM on August 31, 2011


> Price and access to the iPhone. Which still continues to be a major Veblen good for people.

Er, one could make the case that iPhones are over priced and that people don't really need them, but they aren't Veblen goods.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:36 AM on August 31, 2011



Recall that former Senator Obama was among the legislators who gave immunity to AT&T (and other telecoms) from consequences for Bush's illegal wiretapping scandal.


Relation to antitrust? Zero. And which has more impact on ordinary Americans, the fact they can't sue AT&T for assisting the government in unlikely chance they were personally wiretapped? The remedy is against the government. That buck was gonna get passed no matter what. Its a nice (and very novel) theory but it would have never flied in court.

And while you are endlessly refighting 2003, Obama's justice department is taking moves to help ordinary Americans and reduce monopoly.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


See what happens when you don't select me for your document review team T-Mobile?

Actually, T-Mobile's doc review team seems to have done alright. ($6bn for nothing? Somebody must be cracking open the champagne in Darmstadt today...)

AT&T's legal department, on the other hand...
posted by Skeptic at 9:43 AM on August 31, 2011


Whoops, Deutsche Telekom down 8% in the Frankfurt stock exchange. No champagne, then...
posted by Skeptic at 9:47 AM on August 31, 2011


I think the DT shareholders just want the TMO debacle to end.
posted by JPD at 9:53 AM on August 31, 2011


the fact they can't sue AT&T for assisting the government in unlikely chance they were personally wiretapped?

From the sound of it, Americans were more likely than not to be wiretapped, just that the average subscriber was unlikely to be subject of human attention.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:54 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


The FCC has chimed in, as well.
posted by Uncle Ira at 9:54 AM on August 31, 2011


A stopped clock is not a great way to tell the time.

One that runs backwards works better.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:01 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ass Tits and Tongue will you please stop the cramming. It is despicable. As soon as Google gets in the market, me and 20 million others will make the jump the next day.
posted by JohnR at 10:06 AM on August 31, 2011


> Ass Tits and Tongu

Wait, those are nice things. Why are you ascribing pleasurable body parts to AT&T?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


the resulting company would only have 40-something percent of the marketshare. I don't see how competition suffers.


Its not just the 40%, its also that Verizon has about another 40% - that's a pretty strong duopoly.


It's also that they can leverage the 100% market share in specific regions of their land-line business to effectively subsidize price breaks for their cellular phone service (price breaks that the consumer would already have if the landline / DSL market were competitive instead of monopoly).

Allowing private companies to own regional monopolies in telecom was a huge mistake, compounding it by letting them leverage those monopolies to dominate consumer Internet, mobile, and content provision markets is an unbelievably bad mistake.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


The problem as I see it is that T-Mobile was so attached to the "world as we know it" of US cell phone provider business. They would sit and wait for handset makers to beat down their door, demand heavy hardware subsidies to carry their phones and then make a god damn mint passing almost all of the unsubsidized cost onto the consumer while trapping them in for two years with a bonus golden parachute with the ETF!

The problem is while the rest of the world got on with standardizing networks and bands, T-Mobile decided running 3G in AWS was a good idea. Then the iPhone flipped the market on its head and T-Mobile couldn't survive as "the network where you get a Sidekick". Then they probably realised, "holy shit we have no phones". They practically have to beg providers to make an AWS version. People can't bring their own phone and say "give me a SIM card" because, well, who the hell is going to buy an AWS spectrum phone from anyone but T-Mobile? Plus it makes them ineligible to receive the iPhone which works on just about every other UMTS network in the world besides T-Mobile and the five other providers that work on retarded esoteric bands.

If I was T-Mobile? I'd admit that I fucked up, dump 5MHz of spectrum from GSM1900 and do whatever it takes with the FCC to use it to run paired 1.9/2.1 spectrum like every other provider in the world. Import every hot phone from Europe which will now run on their network and then do whatever it takes to get the iPhone 4 as soon as 1.9/2.1 is switched on.

Otherwise they're just going to stagnate under their lousy phone selection which will deprive revenue further which will make them unable to make capital investments required to improve their network which requires them to slash prices and etc, etc etc.

I'll be surprised to see T-Mobile operating in five years.
posted by Talez at 10:18 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I see it, it's more likely to be Apple. And they've got the spare capital to do it that Google doesn't, unless the Motorola play turns out to be brilliant.
posted by spitbull at 10:18 AM on August 31, 2011


Plus it makes them ineligible to receive the iPhone which works on just about every other UMTS network in the world besides T-Mobile and the five other providers that work on retarded esoteric bands.

There are a million iPhones on T-Mobile right now, running on the 'edge' network, right? Can someone explain how T-Mobile is ineligible for the iPhone 5? Does the DOJ blocking the merger help the chances of T-Mobile getting the iPhone 5, or hurt them?

From what I could gather from the recent rumor announcement that T-Mobile would be getting the iPhone, it seemed like it was a distinct possibility. I didn't see anyone saying Tmobile was "ineligible".
posted by cashman at 10:32 AM on August 31, 2011


Allowing private companies to own regional monopolies in telecom was a huge mistake, compounding it by letting them leverage those monopolies to dominate consumer Internet, mobile, and content provision markets is an unbelievably bad mistake.

Here, here! On principle, more mergers, not fewer, should be blocked because consolidation inevitably hurts markets over the lung run. Much of what passes for "vertical integration" is just a kind of newspeak for old fashioned market collusion.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:39 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


eh private natural monopolies like electricity distribution, fixed line telephony and cable actually work fine as long as they are well regulated. They don't work well when the regulator isn't balanced or when they are allowed to own unregulated businesses they can use to cross-subsidy.
posted by JPD at 10:46 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I see it, it's more likely to be Apple. And they've got the spare capital to do it that Google doesn't, unless the Motorola play turns out to be brilliant.


oh god please let Apple buy a mobile operator. If only for the laughs.
posted by JPD at 10:47 AM on August 31, 2011


TDIpod: "And now ATT cranks up its propaganda machine by dangling JOBS in front of consumers. Do I think that 5000 "good-paying wireless call center jobs" will offset the thousands of employees laid off from T-Mobile retail shops? uhh..."

Don't forget all those TMO engineers and dispatchers they can fire, too. I laughed when AT&T offered a mere 5k jobs. Means they are laying off 15K or more people from jobs that pay more than minimum wage. And whoever heard of a good paying call centre job?
posted by QIbHom at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Public utilities, too, can do all of those things, JPD.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll be surprised to see T-Mobile operating in five years.

Dude. They have a wider selection of Droids (you know, the phones that are handily outselling iPhones) than any other carrier, have 4G coverage in every major metro area in the country, and are the only carrier who appear to have gotten the memo that family plans for smart phones are a Good Thing. No one in the U.S. cares about international portability or cellular bandwidth ranges; they want to see a little flashing symbol that says '4G,' and they want reasonable data throughput with no dropped calls. Meanwhile, my wife and I pay $80 a month for unlimited everything on two Droids, and when we call customer service, they don't tell us to go fuck ourselves.

If they can avoid being consumed by the vortex of suck that is AT&T, they'll be fine.
posted by Mayor West at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


whoever heard of a good paying call centre job?

I work in an AT&T call center (not wireless, and the big difference is we are unionized and wireless is not, AFAIK) and it is good paying at almost $50K per year and full tuition and books for approved degrees.

I'm not a huge fan of my union for other reasons, but if those 5K jobs pay close to what we get with similar benefits, those are good jobs. I'm not saying it will be an actual 5K increase in jobs, because I assume like you do that there will be as many or more layoffs.
posted by soelo at 11:08 AM on August 31, 2011


There are a million iPhones on T-Mobile right now, running on the 'edge' network, right? Can someone explain how T-Mobile is ineligible for the iPhone 5? Does the DOJ blocking the merger help the chances of T-Mobile getting the iPhone 5, or hurt them?

Yeah they run on EDGE. They're also not that crash hot on EDGE either. Start up data and it diverts calls straight to voicemail. Unless they get off AWS they're probably not going to be getting the iPhone 5.

Dude. They have a wider selection of Droids (you know, the phones that are handily outselling iPhones) than any other carrier

They have a "wide" selection of 13 Android phones. Not many flagships models make their way to T-Mobile. At least you got the special T-Mobile version of the LG Optimus One and the "4G" version of the Samsung Galaxy. No Xperia, no HTC Desire, No Atrix. The list goes on.

Then there's the other phone brands. No Blackberry, a single Windows Mobile phone, didn't even bother with WebOS since Palm/HP wouldn't make a production run for a single carrier on strange bands.

T-Mobile's phone selection is garbage. Full stop. And it's all because of their decision to run 3G on 1.7 instead of 1.9.

have 4G coverage in every major metro area in the country,

HSPA+ is not 4G. It's US carrier marketing speak for 4G. Wimax is not 4G. LTE is not 4G. LTE Advanced will be 4G.

No one in the U.S. cares about international portability or cellular bandwidth ranges; they want to see a little flashing symbol that says '4G,' and they want reasonable data throughput with no dropped calls.

This is the funniest shit. They don't care about international portability or cellular bandwidth ranges till they realise it affects their phone selection. Then you see fanboys by the gross howling from the rooftops demanding to get special versions of the flagship phones that everyone wants because X other network sucks or they don't want to make a version other than 850MHz 3G for AT&T.
posted by Talez at 11:10 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Public utilities, too, can do all of those things, JPD.


I'm not sure what you mean by this. Regulated Utilities can't normally sell unregulated products unless there is some sort of pass-through of the gains to the regulated customers. At least in the case of most regulated energy utilities.

I don't think Cable or Fixed-line telephony is well regulated. I also think compared to other parts of the world energy utilities in the US aren't well regulated.
posted by JPD at 11:14 AM on August 31, 2011


JPD: "oh god please let Apple buy a mobile operator. If only for the laughs."

Ask some eWorld/iTools/.mac/MobileMe/iCloud users about how Apple is at running managed services.

I love (most) Apple products, but this is one thing that they should steer the hell away from.

On the other hand, I could just imagine John Sculley cackling with delight upon hearing about Apple's foray into the telecom industry.
posted by schmod at 11:25 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, running enterprises as public utilities has benefits, too. I'd prefer to see more services that provide public goods run as actual public utilities, yes, well-regulated ones, but still. I was born at the wrong time in history. I'd love to see more of the government taking a direct role in providing public goods and services. Not in the current political environment, maybe, but in a less self-destructive and dysfunctional, idealized one.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:31 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Then there's the other phone brands. No Blackberry, a single Windows Mobile phone

Wait, T-Mobile carries several Blackberries and Windows phones.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:36 AM on August 31, 2011


eh private natural monopolies like electricity distribution, fixed line telephony and cable actually work fine as long as they are well regulated. They don't work well when the regulator isn't balanced or when they are allowed to own unregulated businesses they can use to cross-subsidy.

You mean 'if' they are well regulated? 'When' implies there has been an occasion in the past with sufficient regulation. I agree with you in theory, just like I agree with theoretical concepts like: "There's no reason a command economy couldn't be just as efficient as a free-market economy given perfect economic modeling". The only thing is that we never see it in the real world. In the US, the closest we came to a well regulated telecom industry was when CLECs were ostensibly allowed to compete. Did you notice how not a single RBOC tried to capture business on another RBOC's turf? A well regulated system would've required separation between businesses running the infrastructure fro businesses selling services reliant on the infrastructure.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:40 AM on August 31, 2011


Utilities are one of those things there really isn't a perfect solution to from an ownership prospective. Mutuals and SOEs tend to become bureaucracies that over-invest in assets and end providing pretty poor value for money to taxpayers, while investor owned models tend to seek to syphon off as much value as possible.

It seems the best solution is something halfway in between - but no one has really pulled that off yet. Have the state own the assets, and then hire someone to run them, incentivzing them to do it safely and cheaply. The problem is the stick for not running them safely and proficiently is never as big as the carrot for doing it cheaply
posted by JPD at 11:41 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, T-Mobile carries several Blackberries and Windows phones.

Really? My mistake. Last time I checked they only carried the HD7 WM phone though.
posted by Talez at 11:42 AM on August 31, 2011


You mean 'if' they are well regulated? 'When' implies there has been an occasion in the past with sufficient regulation.


well I did say this:

I don't think Cable or Fixed-line telephony is well regulated. and I do think that for the most part integrated electric utilities in the US are well regulated, and I think the Australian and UK models for T&D and Water regulation are actually very good.
posted by JPD at 11:44 AM on August 31, 2011


I ran an iPhone 2G for years and years on T-Mobile until it died. I loved T-Mo. But then my friends with Sprint showed me their phones and told me what they were paying. In June I switched to Sprint, got a killer Android phone (the HTC EVO 3D), I have unlimited data, and I have an app that lets me roam onto Verizon with one tap so I'm only slightly inconvenienced by Sprint's subpar coverage.

I really don't want to see the smaller carriers disappear.
posted by exhilaration at 11:45 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, yeah, they do only carry one Windows phone, although it seems on par with other WP7 offerings. Their Blackberry selection is limited, and doesn't include the flagship "Torch" model, however.

They do have a decent selection of Android models (if you swing that way), and will have the new Samsung Galaxy S2.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:47 AM on August 31, 2011


Sorry, some US centric assumptions on my part. And I hadn't looked at Australia's situation since telstra? Or whomever had a monopoly.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:51 AM on August 31, 2011


I guess I'll wait and see if T-Mobile gets the iPhone. Seems they have a decent shot. There was a thread on TMobile's website called "Tmobile iPhone or we all leave" in all caps, but they deleted it. It was started last year sometime. So I hope they got the message and made it happen. Because they're going to lose a bunch of customers if they didn't.
posted by cashman at 11:52 AM on August 31, 2011


Is anyone's unlimited data still unlimited anymore?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:54 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Is anyone's unlimited data still unlimited anymore?

Mine is, but I'm a longtime business customer (and a special snowflake).
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:55 AM on August 31, 2011


We don't have a wireless monopoly in Australia. Three and three quarter networks to choose from (NextG, Telstra 3G, Optus yes g, Vodafone+3). When there were massive outages at Vodafone people just ported their numbers from Voda to somewhere else and swapped the SIM card in their phone.
posted by Talez at 11:57 AM on August 31, 2011


Herfindahl–Hirschman. Its the Sum of the Squared market shares.

This is exactly why I didn't do antitrust--math.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:59 AM on August 31, 2011


Still a T-Mobile user on 1st gen iPhone with Edge network. Kind of a sweet deal, though, as I have a grandfathered $5.99/month data plan. It wasn't meant to be used on this type of device - it was for text-only "mobile web" type stuff back in the days of the Motorola RAZR - but it actually works for data on the iPhone. I'm not a big data user when out walking around anyway - the #1 thing I need is bus arrival times here in Chicago.

The phone it showing its age, though. I'm eager for a real "big boy" iPhone. Thing is, price wise, if I switched now I'd have to go AT&T because I can put together a cheaper plan with them than Verizon.

I hope the rumor that the next iPhone is a single device for all networks, and that Sprint and T-Mobile will also have it, come true. I realize this means losing my insanely cheap data, but I'm still hoping T-Mobile would come up with a price point I can live with.
posted by dnash at 12:04 PM on August 31, 2011


And while you are endlessly refighting 2003

2008. But then politicians count on a dumbed-down, short-memoried electorate making these mistakes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on August 31, 2011


If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the alternative, keep this in mind.

I would hope "not being batshit insane" would head that magical list.

Recall that former Senator Obama was among the legislators who gave immunity to AT&T (and other telecoms) from consequences for Bush's illegal wiretapping scandal.

Obama isn't perfect, okay? But it's looking very much like 2012 will be the election of Obama vs. the howling voices of hungry ghosts. Need I remind you the ghosts got in before, they have tasted human flesh, and they found it sweet.
posted by JHarris at 12:17 PM on August 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the alternative, keep this in mind.

Recall that former Senator Obama was among the legislators who gave immunity to AT&T (and other telecoms) from consequences for Bush's illegal wiretapping scandal.


Since you made your comment in direct response to the first point, I can only assume that you think Bachmann/Perry/OtherRepublican would have done differently. Do you really believe that?
posted by kmz at 12:44 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope this merger dies, and then T-Mo and Sprint use Clearwire as their JV to roll out LTE-Advanced on Clearwire's massive 2.5GHz spectrum holdings (2495-2690MHz). Right now they've got 48MHz of usable spectrum (the rest is subject to various rules, primarily "educational broadband service"). I'd rather not have the cable companies get a hold of Clearwire (as they've been rumored recently) just to make sure there is a third high-speed internet access choice in the future.

That massive spectrum would bring really fast speeds to users. I'm talking 50Mb/s downstream and 10Mb/s upstream. I'm sure they'd still stick you with a 2GB data cap though ;)
posted by SirOmega at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2011


Do you really believe that?

If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the any alternative, maybe that's not a great endorsement of an Obama administration.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:12 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think Cable or Fixed-line telephony is well regulated. and I do think that for the most part integrated electric utilities in the US are well regulated, and I think the Australian and UK models for T&D and Water regulation are actually very good.

I don't think there's any good reason why data pipes can't be regulated the same way as electricity pipes. The current situation is like the days when you could either get Edison electric or GE electric...

But the last thing either Comcast or any of the cellphone companies is to become a bulk supplier, foreced to be interoperable and prevented from producing "content."
posted by ennui.bz at 1:22 PM on August 31, 2011


If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the any alternative, maybe that's not a great endorsement of an Obama administration.

You're right. That's why the original comment didn't say anything about a great endorsement of the Obama administration. In fact it said exactly only that Obama is preferable to the alternatives.
posted by kmz at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


People can't bring their own phone and say "give me a SIM card" because, well, who the hell is going to buy an AWS spectrum phone from anyone but T-Mobile?

You can pick up a (new) Nexus One for under $250 nowadays, walk into a T-Mo store, and get a SIM card, no problem. If you ask nicely they'll even waive the $20 fee. Also, I have no monthly contract. They're not the best and kindest company in the world, but they're OK.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:53 PM on August 31, 2011


If you find yourself in need of reasons why an Obama administration is preferable to the any alternative, maybe that's not a great endorsement of an Obama administration.

Has any administration ever been good enough to earn the Blazecock Pileon seal of approval, or is that reserved for might-have-beens who are judged on promises rather than performance?
posted by anigbrowl at 3:01 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


PUNCH THE HIPPIE, PUNCH THE HIPPIE, PUNCH THE HIP-PIE. (to the tune of "Ride of the Valkyries"
posted by entropicamericana at 3:09 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, did you post that with the wrong account?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:13 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's any good reason why data pipes can't be regulated the same way as electricity pipes.

yes - sort of my point. Although its a little different in that marginal cost of data is almost zero, and to do it right you'd need to go all a la carte for cable channels - which may not be the best thing in the world for people with niche viewing interests.
posted by JPD at 3:16 PM on August 31, 2011


I dumped AT&T for T-mobile twoish years ago. I'd always felt guilty using AT&T but I only dumped them after they behaved like asshats.

Isn't AT&T the one with famously bad customer service? Or maybe that's Verizon? I've never had any customer service issues with T-mobile certianly.

I'd assume that T-mobile customers know they're choosing the cheaper carrier with less coverage, which sounds fine by me. Why subsidize the rednecks phones?

Any reasonably advanced GSM phone should support T-mobile's spectrum. If you blow $500 on a phone, then chances are you have the money for an ocasional vacation in Italy, Japan, or wherever.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:24 PM on August 31, 2011


In other AT&T news: NSA, AT&T Warrantless Wiretapping Case Set for Court
posted by homunculus at 3:48 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has any administration ever been good enough to earn the Blazecock Pileon seal of approval, or is that reserved for might-have-beens who are judged on promises rather than performance?

I think giving full and permanent immunity to telecom company executives has done great damage to our country's ideals of openness and due process. I don't think a temporary setback to AT&T's business plans makes up for that, even if an election is coming.

(And this is surely temporary, because as eriko notes, there is $6 billion at stake if AT&T does nothing. Many people in DC will be paid off handsomely in the weeks and months to come.)

So, sorry, but this isn't about your feelings about me. It's not even about a despicable set of scare tactics by yourself and others that all lead essentially to the idea that you must vote for Obama—or else. It's about the sad facts about the guy's longer, larger and less savory history with telecoms, a history that includes putting a massive hurt on our collective civil rights.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:41 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reed Hundt, a former chair of the Federal Communications Commission, said in a brief phone interview: "The Department of Justice will prevail," he said. "The Justice Department in its entire history has never lost a telecom case of this sort."
posted by cashman at 5:51 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


PUNCH THE HIPPIE, PUNCH THE HIPPIE, PUNCH THE HIP-PIE. (to the tune of "Ride of the Valkyries"

What are you, 12?

So, sorry, but this isn't about your feelings about me. It's not even about a despicable set of scare tactics by yourself and others that all lead essentially to the idea that you must vote for Obama—or else. It's about the sad facts about the guy's longer, larger and less savory history with telecoms, a history that includes putting a massive hurt on our collective civil rights.

Blazecock, I asked you a straight question. I know all the reasons you don't approve of Obama because you've posted them so many times. I want to know what historical administrations you do approve of.

The reason I ask is that every administration faces a gap between what it would like to do, as stated on the campaign trail, and what compromises it deems necessary during a President's incumbency. I can't think of any administration, in the US or elsewhere, that has ever had the good fortune to come into power and just implement every goal of its agenda without setbacks, reversals, or opposition. Even those widely acknowledged as great leaders have had to make compromises; Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, FDR authorized putting Japanese-American people in camps because it was expedient to do so, LBJ bombed the fuck out of Viet Nam because he didn't want to end up with a Korea-style stalemate, and so on.

So what standard are you judging this administration against? An idealized moral absolute, or something grounded in reality?
posted by anigbrowl at 7:06 PM on August 31, 2011


So what standard are you judging this administration against? An idealized moral absolute, or something grounded in reality?

Of us both, only I seem able to accept the reality of Obama's past history on this subject. You might want to start doing some reading.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:13 PM on August 31, 2011


I haven't disagreed with you about Obama's past history, it just doesn't bother me the same way it does you because I would probably have voted as he did. I'm not asking you to endorse a policy or a person that you clearly have a deep and irreconcilable disagreement with.

I'm asking what historical administrations, if any, you do endorse. If no administration in history could ever qualify for your moral approval, then your support is by definition unattainable and not worth pursuing. If you can or do endorse a past administration, then clearly there are some kinds of compromise you consider acceptable and I'm interested in learning how you decide that.

It's a simple question. This is the third time I've asked.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:41 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a simple question. This is the third time I've asked.

You are under the mistaken impression I owe you an answer, let alone for an irrelevant question that has no bearing on this subject. What a bully you are!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:47 PM on August 31, 2011


Obama isn't perfect, okay? But it's looking very much like 2012 will be the election of Obama vs. the howling voices of hungry ghosts. Need I remind you the ghosts got in before, they have tasted human flesh, and they found it sweet.

There are still a couple of Power Pellets on the screen. Let's hope Obama eats them before the election.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:55 PM on August 31, 2011


You are under the mistaken impression I owe you an answer, let alone for an irrelevant question that has no bearing on this subject. What a bully you are!

First I get called a hippie puncher and now you're calling me a bully, just because I persist in asking you a simple question. If you don't want to answer, then don't answer. You've already accused me of employing 'despicable scare tactics' and suggested that I'm in denial of history, allegations which I think are both unfounded and rude. As long as you're holding yourself out as a moral authority on this subject, I see no reason why you should be exempt from requests to clarify your views - politely expressed requests, at that.

If this is your idea of being bullied, then maybe debate is too stressful an activity for you.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:48 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where in this thread did I call anyone, let alone you, a hippy puncher?

What other administrations have done in their own respective eras does little to excuse Obama's own decisions. We don't live in the 1800s anymore, and we don't have to use Deadwood-era morality to excuse warrantless wiretapping. We live under an Obama presidency, and so we have to deal with his record honestly, even if an election is coming up, because we are all affected by his decisions. All of them, too. Not just the popular ones that happen around election seasons.

So you asked a simple question, which has no bearing on this subject. That you asked it three times made your question no less irrelevant or your behavior any less brutish. I didn't call you a hippy puncher, but you are acting out in a manner similar to that of a bully who cannot get his way, getting petulant and sulky when your pestering doesn't work.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 PM on August 31, 2011






Where in this thread did I call anyone, let alone you, a hippy puncher?

I didn't say you did. I said I was called a hippie puncher, and then you called me a bully.

What other administrations have done in their own respective eras does little to excuse Obama's own decisions

As I've explained above, there's no way to tell if anything could excuse Obama's decisions in your eyes. Absent some point of comparison, you may as well be using some standard of moral absolutism that would be unattainable under any circumstances by anyone. Whether or not we live in the 1800s is irrelevant. we're still using a Constitution that was largely put together in the 1700s, and a great deal of 19th century jurisprudence remains relevant today.

I think my question is entirely relevant, because without knowing what sort of moral or political yardstick you are using to judge Obama it's impossible to decide how seriously to take your complaints. You seem to think he's the worst president of all time, or something very close to it, a view which seems wildly unrealistic to me. But it seems like you would have been dissatisfied with every other democratic president I can think of as well for one reason or another.

Surely there must be someone that you do approve of, and whose compromises or whose timetable for implementing a political agenda you do find acceptable. If there's nobody of whom you can say 'President ____'s achievements outweighed his shortcomings', then maybe your expectations are unreasonable.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:40 PM on August 31, 2011


it's impossible to decide how seriously to take your complaints

From this, one can only conclude that you believe signing law that gives immunity to criminals is not a serious matter (that being my "complaint", as such). Therefore, I don't know what I could possibly "clarify" to you, since you do not understand the importance of the issue that is being discussed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 PM on August 31, 2011



The Blazecock Pileons of the world want to have it both ways. They want a political system that delivers what they want without having to actually go outside to support it.

Obama could be a Great President. or even an Awesome President. But he's merely a Good President. Now, I would prefer a Great or Awesome President, but the fact is that unless he's got The Votes, he's not gonna stick his neck out. Why would he ? It makes no sense.

The Tea Party won the last election - handily! - because they got out and they made noise. It's that fucking simple. Kennedy didn't do shit on Civil Rights until the Marches and the Strikes and Demonstrations made him. The Dems are defending unions now, finally, after all these years, because we had 100,000 people in the fucking streets in a Wisconsin February.

The fact remains, however, that if those 100,000 idiots had shown up the summer previous, they wouldn't have had to set up tents in the middle of the fucking winter to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

If you want Obama to do what you want, you need to have the votes to make him do it.

Anyway, the part of the problem with lazy feckless Democrats are the lazy feckless crybaby Dem "supporters". I have a sister in Saudi Arabia who will gladly salute a President Bachmann and is counting on the "good isn't perfect enough" contingent to make it a reality for her.

You can't get a liberal away from their creme broule long enough to mount a campaign - the best you can hope for is some crying on anonymous message boards about "Hippie Punching" and "DADT got repealed a year too late!! ZOMFG!!!" It's no wonder dems are trying to run as as Kinder, Gentler, republicans. Those are the only people who ever show up and demonstrate anymore.

Mucho habla. No Trebajo.

I don't agree with Republican policies or morals, but Christ on a Corndog are Dems a bunch of crybaby do nothings. Have been since I've been self aware. Both of you can piss the fuck off.

If you want Obama to take you more seriously, you need to demonstrate that you've got the numbers to matter. Otherwise, well, he's right to ignore you and seek the votes where he can find them.

So yeah, Hippie... You gonna fight, or you gonna cry ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:35 PM on August 31, 2011


So yeah, Hippie... You gonna fight, or you gonna cry ?

That's honest. It's a start, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 PM on August 31, 2011


one can only conclude that you believe signing law that gives immunity to criminals is not a serious matter

Well, one could also believe it was an undesirable necessity for a variety of reasons, in much the same way that individual criminals are sometimes granted immunity in return for testimony by prosecutors. You appear to think only your view on this issue can have any validity, and that no compromise is possible. Since every president in history seems to have had to make some compromises, often on quite difficult moral issues, then it seems you would have difficulty endorsing anyone. This is the problem with issue politics; nobody wants to compromise on whatever issues they tie themselves to, so people who go around checklisting candidates are doomed to eternal disappointment.

Since you refuse to say who or what you'd be satisfied with, you end up getting less than anything you might get if you were prepared to compromise, and then you wonder why you feel so left out. This seems like a peculiarly masochistic approach to politics.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:25 AM on September 1, 2011


You appear to think only your view on this issue can have any validity, and that no compromise is possible.

No. I think that if we can't agree on the facts, then I can't communicate with you. You think that letting people free who tap phone lines without a warrant is okay, but it is, in fact, a controversial issue for some people for very good reasons.

Whether or not Lincoln had to make compromises 150 years ago is an interesting derail, but it really has nothing to do with the mistaken portrayals of Obama as some kind of hero of the people because of a fluke DoJ decision (and one that will likely get overruled, anyway, once AT&T throws cash at the right bosses).

Since you refuse to say who or what you'd be satisfied with

Well, he's in power, so I would prefer some kind of honesty about the guy's record, whatever else. When I see a comment like "if you need a reason to vote Obama, this is it" it really flies in direct contradiction of the guy's history. And we're not even talking 10 years ago, or 50, or 150 years, but three years ago, ffs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:56 AM on September 1, 2011


Talez wrote: People can't bring their own phone and say "give me a SIM card" because, well, who the hell is going to buy an AWS spectrum phone from anyone but T-Mobile?

Penta-band phones FTW.
posted by wierdo at 2:33 AM on September 1, 2011


No one in the U.S. cares about international portability

Mayor West is spot on about why we're with T-Mobile, except this one - this is a major reason why we won't leave them. I don't know what the situation is today, but 5 years ago it was like pulling teeth to get a carrier to unlock a subsidized phone for you, if they would do it at all. We go to South Africa a lot and like to use local SIM cards in our phones. With T-Mobile, when we get a new phone we just call and ask and it's unlocked in a day.
posted by chundo at 8:03 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I can say is that if this is good for Sprint, it's great for me.

I got in on Virgin's $25 a month no-contract unlimited wireless plan for my Android phone before they raised it to $35... and since I'm grandfathered in on it, I can keep updating phones without any additional expense.

Frankly, I don't understand why anyone would think paying three times as much elsewhere was in any ways acceptable. (Unless, of course, you love your iPhone.) But hey... I've got some hot lovin' for your iPhone right here.

The fact of the matter is that mobile phones are becoming commodities... increasingly powerful ones. The newest, greatest, most powerful ones won't be all that new, great, or more powerful in a couple of years.

AT&T and Verizon charged what they did because they could get away with it, and have their customers locked in... and they have been doing their utmost to not see that change. But it's going to have to, because the phone manufacturers are able to deliver increasingly powerful phones with all the bells and whistles for a pittance.

So, Apple will release their iPhone 5, and will likely announce that Virgin users will get to play with what is, in effect, an iPhone 4, for $35 a month, plus the cost of the phone. (Except it will likely be $25 for those of us grandfathered in on the deal...) And the thing is, Apple will need to make the phones for Virgin quite powerful, because the Androids available are already quite good. Give it a few more years and we'll be seeing 4G iPhones competing against 4G Androids on all the bargain phone networks. There will need to be, frankly, because the real money in the future of phones will be the percentages pocketed when you use your phone to buy things.... from apps to soda pop to groceries.

There won't be smartphones anymore... there will just be phones. ( Consumers, however, will still come in the smart and clueless varieties.)
posted by markkraft at 8:48 AM on September 1, 2011


If you want Obama to take you more seriously, you need to demonstrate that you've got the numbers to matter. Otherwise, well, he's right to ignore you and seek the votes where he can find them.

If Obama wants Democrats to take him more seriously, he needs to demonstrate that he's got the gumption to matter. Otherwise, well, they're right to reject him and give their votes where they'll be useful.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:55 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Which is to say: Obama already got the votes. They're his to lose.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:55 AM on September 1, 2011


No. I think that if we can't agree on the facts, then I can't communicate with you. You think that letting people free who tap phone lines without a warrant is okay, but it is, in fact, a controversial issue for some people for very good reasons.

You don't know what I think about it, because I have been very careful to keep my thoughts to myself on that particular issue; and that's the case because I don't know what I think about it. That I would have voted the same way (to give immunity) is not at all the same thing as approving of it. Put simply, this is not the issue I would want to split the union over, and the crafting of a legislative exception serves to reassert the rule to which it is appended. I do not expect you to agree with this concept.

In any case that just mean we have two differing opinions, neither of which qualifies as a fact. It is plain that you are uncomfortable with politics as it is carried on by flawed human beings, and you want to enjoy the luxury of considering it without having to set foot in the real world. If your vote can't be had at any (political) price, then it's not worth seeking.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:03 PM on September 1, 2011


That I would have voted the same way (to give immunity) is not at all the same thing as approving of it.

Okay. Sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:12 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've never been forced to choose between two unpleasant alternatives? Lucky you.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:33 PM on September 1, 2011


We were not chatting idly about Coke or Pepsi. We were talking about illegal surveillance and the ability to prosecute its conspirators. Except for brain-dead legislators who sign anything put in front of them, a law that lets those conspirators off the hook is a serious enough matter that voting for it must necessarily be approval of their actions, on a not-insignificant level.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 PM on September 1, 2011


AT&T prepares two-track plan to save T-Mobile deal
This two-track plan will allow AT&T to try to find a settlement before the lawsuit reaches the court.

"AT&T is pretty determined that they can find a solution, and they are pretty confident," one of the sources said, requesting anonymity as the talks are private.

~

Details of AT&T's proposed settlement were not available, but it is expected to include pledges to maintain T-Mobile's relatively cheap mobile subscription plans, and asset sales.

AT&T may have to sell up to 25 percent of T-Mobile's business, including airwaves and customers, two sources said, to address the government's concern that just three companies would control 90 percent of the U.S. wireless market if the merger goes through.

Bob Doyle, a former antitrust enforcer now in private practice, said it would be difficult for AT&T to reach a settlement with the Justice Department as there would have to be divestitures on both the national and regional level.

While there might be several buyers for regional assets, the only possible buyers for national assets are Verizon Wireless and No. 3-ranked Sprint Nextel Corp -- which could cause another round of antitrust scrutiny.

"Verizon's a no go. Sprint may be a no go also," said Doyle.

~

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in Washington, D.C., was selected at random to preside over the case, one of the biggest antitrust court battles in years.

She has a reputation for speedy rulings, which would be welcome to AT&T compared with months or even years of uncertainty. For Deutsche Telekom, it has tried for years to find a way out of its T-Mobile business, and has no Plan B.

AT&T has asked for an expedited hearing, and one source expects the case could go to court in two months.
posted by cashman at 6:55 AM on September 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seven states join effort to stop AT&T/T-Mobile deal (Reuters)
Attorneys general from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington have signed onto the effort to stop the deal that would merge two of the four large national cellphone carriers.
There was another report a few days ago that had, I think, congresspeople pressuring the president to settle things so that the deal goes through.
posted by cashman at 1:03 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Tea Party won the last election - handily! - because they got out and they made noise. It's that fucking simple.

Don't forget the absurd levels of gerrymandering and the fact they had an entire cable channel for a cheering section.
posted by JHarris at 10:05 PM on September 17, 2011


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