AT&T CEO's Keynote Looks Back

LAS VEGAS -- NXTcomm 2008 -- Some say NXTcomm has lost its luster as the year’s biggest event in telecom. In his second consecutive year of kicking off the show with a keynote address, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson didn't do much to prove them wrong.

“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

rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:38:33 PM
re: AT&T CEO's Keynote Looks Back A recent article in the San Jose Mercury news has an AT&T executive suggesting fiber access to businesses, networks that are run by enterprises themselves or competitive carriers, merely enable truck bombs. Better may be to go back to the days of RRs than to let terrorism reign using fiber!

T might want to higher some PR firms to help with their messaging.


The problem is in 2000, 2001, service providers popped up all over the place in the industry, and a lot of them were taking advantage of the fact that you could lay relatively cheap fiber. By putting the fiber in the ground they were suddenly carriers, but that didn't mean they were doing any network management. It didn't mean they were doing any security.

To take advantage of that cheap fiber, a lot of enterprise customers would buy the fiber and run the network themselves. They'd have to do the traffic management and shaping, and certainly the security. All carriers do is, we sign an agreement that says I will push these packets to you fast. I won't drop any of them. I won't do anything to them. I won't have any latency; I will get these truck bombs to you real fast.
Lite Rock 12/5/2012 | 3:38:32 PM
re: AT&T CEO's Keynote Looks Back Good post RJ,

Would everyone that remembers how exciting life was under the Bell companies ala 1984 raise your hands!

Lets not forget the stalwarts of innovation are back in control. It's Alive!!
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 3:38:31 PM
re: AT&T CEO's Keynote Looks Back Well I am at the show and let me tell you this is a depressing state of affairs.

We walk the halls sorry 1/2 a hall and see all the innovation that is taking place in the industry - not.

We ack. those of us that have been in the industry for a very long time and recall the good times and wonder has the industry collapsed never to return.

What the f*&^ has happened - SOS - lol
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