Light Reading

AT&T Talks Small Cells, DAS in New Ads

Sarah Thomas
3/17/2014
50%
50%

Rather than attack its competitors, stretch the meaning of 4G, or rely on a table full of adorably precocious little kids, AT&T is trying a new approach to marketing and actually explaining what it is doing to improve its network.

Sure, the new AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) commercials aren't exactly a technical lesson in network dynamics -- the engineer asks about "nine-beam, multi-beam antenna systems," whatever those are -- but they do delve into specifics like small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS) in a way we haven't really seen on TV before.

Check out two of the new spots, which debuted on Sunday evening.

Part of the reason AT&T is revamping its ad campaigns could be the threat of litigation from T-Mobile US Inc. , which is taking on Verizon Wireless for its map commercials depicting its inferior magenta map. Or AT&T could just be sick of T-Mobile CEO John Legere making fun of the kids from its "It's not complicated" campaign. (See T-Mobile Repurposes 2G to Get an LTE Edge.)

But Chad Harris, AT&T's executive director of marketing, tells Ad Age it's really because its customers have shown they care to know why the network does or does not work. They are interested in hearing more about AT&T's heterogeneous network strategy, even if they don't ask about it by name.

And AT&T has a story to tell here. As part of Project Velocity IP (VIP), the carrier will deploy more than 10,000 more macro sites, 40,000 small cells, and 1,000 DAS across the country by the end of 2015. It's had a hard time shaking its reputation for poor network quality, back from the original iPhone days, so it's talking up what it's doing to bolster network capacity and reliability to assure its customers that those days are long gone. (See AT&T's Donovan: Perception Still 'Lags' on Network Quality and AT&T Puts Up $14B to Boost Broadband.)

It'll be interesting to see and hear the market reaction to these ads. All the wireless operators have been guilty of misusing and muddling the term 4G to the point that it has lost its meaning with consumers. Now that their networks are increasingly comparable, the operators have to differentiate their marketing in other ways. Attacking one another is one way, but actually explaining what they are doing to be the best is another. We'll see which one wins out. (See 4G: Just a Marketing Term?)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(26)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 12:39:25 PM
Re: technically speaking...
Which speaks to the fact that as networks become more comparable, operators have to find new ways to differentiate -- in their ads and in their offers.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 6:40:37 PM
Re: technically speaking...
Well, I already have AT&T for my iPad data plan. Verizon for my iPhone. 

I had AT&T on my iPhone previously and switched to Verizon when I kept hearing how much better Verizon is. Honestly, I don't see much difference. 

 
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 10:17:03 AM
Re: technically speaking...
A whole different debate entirely!
gk998
50%
50%
gk998,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 10:15:19 AM
Re: technically speaking...
Oh the Ericsson DAS / 'remote radio head'...  Not quite the same thing as a 'Small Cell' ;-)
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 10:03:58 AM
Re: technically speaking...
haha, Excellent call out! I was thinking that AT&T is working with Ericsson, so the new small cells it'd be deploying in enterprise locations would be of the much sexier Radio Dot variety:

gk998
100%
0%
gk998,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 9:53:11 AM
Re: technically speaking...
"If you want to get technical, that's not what a small cell looks like"

Really? kinda looks like one to me...

 

http://resources.alcatel-lucent.com/?cid=155781

 
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/17/2014 | 6:18:51 PM
Re: technically speaking...
haha, wow, Mitch, I think you had just the reaction to this commercial that AT&T was hoping for! Are you switching your wireless service to it now?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/17/2014 | 6:02:21 PM
Re: technically speaking...
SarahReedy - "It's next set of ads are going to be focused on fixing the perception of engineers as nerds with bad pick up lines in our society."

Bad pickup line? It seemed to be working for him!

Although his partner seemed to be the one doing the picking up. Literally. 
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/17/2014 | 6:01:08 PM
Re: technically speaking...
Carol Wilson - "Wow, our California geek is a hopeless romantic - who knew?"

Certainly not my wife. 

<signed> Mitch "Valentine's Day -- I've Heard of It" Wagner
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/17/2014 | 5:05:55 PM
Re: technically speaking...
Yeahhh, I don't disagree. It's pretty cheesy. The intent is good on the educational aspect, but they end up drawing on stereotypes -- even the stoner guy at the concert. 
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
More Blogs from Que Sera Sarah
5G won't be a wholesale network changeover, which is a good thing, because 4G does a pretty good job already.
In a new Prime Reading feature on Light Reading, Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown dishes on all things 5G.
It's 5G month at Light Reading, which means we're exploring everything from what 5G entails, what it means for the industry, its challenges, opportunities and progress across the globe.
There is progress being made as tech firms begin to make women a priority, but there's still a long road ahead to redress the gender balance.
Swiss giant Tag Heuer has teamed up with Google and Intel to take on Apple with a smartwatch of their own as the wearables category starts to heat up.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Beach Petroleum on eLTE & Mining

4|8|15   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


Network systems integrator Jeremy Hamlyn explains how Huawei's secure packet-based trunking communications system, eLTE, can help remote communities and companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors, deploy efficient communications networks that are perfect for video and data as well as voice.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
Can WiFi Calling Find Its Voice?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/13/2015
Senator Proposes New 'Title X' for Net Neutrality
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/13/2015
Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent in Merger Talks
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/14/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Cats with Phones
Steve's Phone Click Here
Steve Saunders's personal phone.