It usually doesn’t make sense to spend much time discussing rumored deals, since they more often than not fall apart. Once in a while, however, there is an exception. The rumored acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T is one worth taking note of early.
The deal would be startling because of its size, of course. The other surprising element would be the marriage of firms from the telephone and cable sectors. These companies, of course, have been fighting tooth and nail for decades.
The conversations between the two companies were reported late in the week by Bloomberg. In any case, the talks are at a very early stage:
The talks, which at this stage are informal, have focused on building relations between the companies rather than establishing the terms of a specific transaction, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Neither side has yet to hire a financial adviser, the people said.
AT&T to Offer Roaming in Cuba
Some of the great beneficiaries of the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba are American companies. This is especially true of telecommunications firms, which can cash in on linking families split between the two countries and service the growing commerce and tourism businesses.
This week, AT&T took a step by offering direct mobile roaming between the nations. Subscribers will have access at the rates of $3 per minute to talk, $50 for SMS text, $1.30 per MMS text, and $2.05 per megabyte of data.
In August, AT&T entered a roaming agreement with Empresa de Telecomicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) for roaming.
T-Mobile, FCC Agree on Penalty
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and T-Mobile have reached agreement on a $48 million penalty related to the carrier’s failure to disclose restrictions on its “unlimited” data plans, according to WirelessWeek.
The FCC’s investigation revealed that there were efforts to slow data speeds when T-Mobile or MetroPCS customers exceeded a data threshold, though the plans were billed as “unlimited” in advertisements and other materials. That misdirection may have created the impression that subscribers were getting better service than they thought.
The breakdown of the penalty is $7.5 million in fines and $35.5 million in consumer benefits to subscribers with the suspect plans. The company also will donate at least $5 million in service and equipment to schools, the story says.
Verizon/Yahoo! Deal Still on Hold and Uncertain
The initial reaction of Verizon to the stunning breach of security that led 500 million user accounts to be compromised was that it would look at restructuring or cancelling its acquisition of the company.
That distancing remains. Light Reading reports that there are still questions about the way forward. CFO Fran Shammo, the story says, told analysts during its third-quarter conference call this week that evaluation has just begun and that it may put the deal on hold:
Verizon has been expecting to close the deal in the first quarter of next year, subject to approval by its shareholders and regulators. It’s not yet clear whether that timing may now change because of the data breach investigation and potential new negotiations.
Vote Hacking Unlikely
The presidential election is almost here. There has been a tremendous amount of talk about the possibility of hacking the vote. The reality, however, is that such an occurrence is a long shot.
Dark Reading says that hacking machines is “extremely costly, high-risk and incredibly complicated.” Machines can be physically hacked by replacing a chip, but the sheer number makes it impractical. Electronic hacking doesn’t offer much better odds. Only Louisiana uses direct recording electronic (DRE) systems without paper backups, according to the story.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.