AT&T CEO's Keynote Looks Back
“Is there anyone here who doesn’t believe this is an exciting time to be in the telecommunications industry?” Stephenson asked the crowd this morning.
True, AT&T has a lot of exciting work going on. U-verse and the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) buildout on 700MHz spectrum come to mind. (See AT&T & Verizon to Use 700 MHz for 4G .) But the head of the world’s largest telco spent a lot of his time focused on all the excitement that was, back in the past.
The railroad industry, for instance. “The railroads connected hundreds of once-distant cities,” he said, launching into a discussion about connectivity. He also dropped the bombshell that “the one thing that has provided more connectivity than anything is the advent of the telephone.” Stop the presses!
Stephenson moved on to discuss mobility, a more modern-day topic.
“When you mobilize something, usage explodes,” he remarked. Was AT&T about to make an announcement that it had mobilized a new product or service that had once been tethered to a wire? It certainly seemed like that kind of setup, but instead Stephenson went retro, talking about cassette players and Sony’s invention of the Walkman.
He did, at one point, put in a plug for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) TelePresence that would do John Chambers proud. This led back to a demonstration of how the mobile phone has revolutionized the way Indian fishermen do business -- which provided a case study more up to date than the railroads, anyway.
— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading