Big is Better! (really??)

I've been asleep at the wheel for the last couple days and didn't notice that AT&T (the SBC boys) have decided to buy up another company, BellSouth - coming close to recreating the monopoly of pre-1987. Well once I noticed this event, it was really something of a shocker (not from the standpoint of AT&T wanting to grab more telecom real estate, but from a standpoint of "didn't we already settle this issue??)

So, to be fair, I'll include a quote from an industry analyst that is in favor of this move...

Industry analysts, like Tom Watts, say the deal makes sense. "Big is better. Smaller operators, their costs just aren't competitive and they haven't been able to bring prices down as competition has increased."

Now, Tom is probably a very smart guy, been around telecom all his life and understand all the ins-n-outs of the telecom industry. Me, I just another guy with an opinion. But since this is my blog, I get to share it...

First of all, I don't believe "big is better" - that's a value judgment and there are plenty of small telecom companies in the world (check out how many there actually are in rural America sometime) that provide their customers with local, long distance, wireless, internet access and in many cases wireless. They usually do it for about the same amount as the "big" companies - but on the other hand, they also know your name, your kids go to school with their kids, you probably know someone that works for these companies - big is not necessarily better.

You know what big does, it allows the person sitting on the top of pyramid to make decisions that affect thousands (in many cases 10's of thousands) of employees, and hundreds of thousands of customers - with a single decision. This is a crap merger - the reasons for it is that "big is better", that AT&T can't compete against the cable companies -- well boo hoo. If the merger goes through - AT&T will be bigger than the whole cable industry - and I still don't think they will be able to compete.

Telecos are lumbering giants - and they have never gotten out of the monopoly mindset. If the cable companies are the threat, then AT&T needs to buy Comcast or Cox - not BellSouth. They need to be better at what they do, instead of protecting their aging infrastructure. They need to understand that customers have options and they vote with those options. Change or die it's that simple.


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