AT&T Pushing Bill to Discontinue Traditional Landline Service

No doubt the present age is the era of cellphones, but lovers of traditional landline phones are not yet extinct. A number of people are using traditional landlines for homes and businesses in California. But state lawmakers are going to pull plug on these old telephone services.


“It is my connection to the world,” said Ruthanne Shpinner for whom her landline is her lifeline. But, in the near future, she might lose it.
A bill is being pushed by Shpinner’s phone company, AT&T, to let phone companies in California put an end to traditional landline service.
Customers could keep landlines if they want, but they may use alternate technologies such as voice over internet protocol, or VOIP, says AT&T.
Bill sponsor and San Jose Assemblyman Evan Low put forward that the old copper wires and switching stations used to route land line calls are quite exorbitant in terms of maintenance for a diminishing number of customers. He is of the view that money would rather be spent investing in new telecommunications technology.
“The plain old telephone system known as pots is rapidly approaching irrelevance,” said Low. “We’re modernizing with the times. We liken this from going to analog to digital.”
Mark Toney of the Utility Reform Network is of the view that the change would cause many to lose a trustworthy service in times of emergencies.
“We think it would be an absolute catastrophe. Our first concern is public safety,” said Toney. “The old landline telephone service will operate two weeks without electricity.” He is of the opinion that the substitutes such as cell services or VOIP are not so reliable in times of emergency.
But Ken McNeeley of AT&T holds a different opinion. As per him “The best phone in case of emergency is the phone you have in your hand”
There are state regulators who are against the bill, citing public safety and reliability. Some opponents believe that the real purpose is money.
As per records, AT&T has invested above $750,000 in lobbying at the capitol on a series of recent bills, including Lows AB 2395.
Among all this, the real challenge still remains in convincing people to stop using the traditional landline.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Shpinner.

Verizon Trademark “One Talk” Hints Mobile, Landline Combination

Verizon, a leading network carrier in the US, filed a trademark application for a “One Talk” service which hints at a potential move from the carrier to integrate fixed and mobile services. The network’s trademark application states- “Telecommunications services, namely, providing telephone services; and providing a unified system of integrated fixed and mobile voice services where landline and mobile communications devices can take the same calls, use the same telephone numbers and share the same calling features such as voice and text messaging.”

verizone network

Verizon’s trademark application, reported by Phandroid, indicates the network’s plan to offer a service that would allow its landline and mobile customers to seamlessly shift their conversations to and from the company’s wireless and wireline calling services. The Phandroid report states- “We imagine the company will require a special home phone to take full advantage of the feature, though it’s possible the call mirroring options could be made available no matter which phone you use. Although many people have moved to mobile phones for their primary communication needs, there’s still a big crowd of folks who subscribe to home phone service, else availability of those services wouldn’t be as plentiful as they are today. For those people, using your phone while you’re at home doesn’t need to be a watered down, ancient experience — make it just as smart and convenient as if you were using a smartphone, and we’re happy.”
And, Phandroid also said that such services are already hitting the market. Last year, AT&T detailed its “NumberSync” technology that is designed to allow customers to share their primary phone number with other connected devices such as smartwatches, even if their phone isn’t connected to a cellular network.
Also, in March, Google announced its Fiber Phone service, which builds on the Google Fiber Internet and TV service to create a triple-play service offering. Shiver-Blake said “Your Fiber Phone number lives in the cloud, which means that you can use it on almost any phone, tablet or laptop.” He further added, “It can ring your landline when you’re home, or your mobile device when you’re on-the-go.”

Verizon Landline Workers Continue With Strike, and Protest at Verizon Shareholder Meeting

Dozens of Verizon landline workers are on strike since mid-April after contract talks hit an impasse. Recently, they were seen protesting at Verizon’s annual shareholder meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Verizon Landline

Sources say that around 15 protesters blocked traffic and laid down atop a large banner on the street. And, the Albuquerque Police Department confirms that no arrests were made. Nearly 250 protestors, including workers and supporters, were demonstrating at the meeting where the agenda included an election for 13 directors and a vote on executive compensation. The unions for the strikers said they planned hundreds of protests across the United States against Verizon. More than 40,000 network technicians and customer service representatives of the company’s FiOS Internet, telephone and television services units walked off the job on April 13. The action was called by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

As the strike enters its fourth week, the sticking points include job relocations, off-shore call-center jobs and healthcare coverage. According to the unions, the striking workers have about $1.3 billion in Verizon stock holdings.
They voted on proposals including one brought by the Association of BellTel Retirees that seeks the company to require shareholder approval for any executive severance agreement offering a payout of more than triple the base salary. Verizon shareholders rejected this proposal on Thursday, according to Don Dunn, a union representative and Long Island, New York-based FiOS field technician, who attended the meeting.

Verizon said last week it had presented an updated and “final” offer to the unions, including a wage increase of 7.5 percent. The company, which has been scaling back its FiOS and legacy landline business, wants workers to shoulder more healthcare costs and be open to relocating to new job locations. The union rejected the new proposal and the parties remain far apart.

“CWA is the one of the biggest unions out there and if we lose this fight, all other unions…they are going to lose. There’s a lot at stake here,” said Shon Scents, a Verizon cable splicer, at the protest in New York’s Financial District.

The work stoppage at Verizon stretched across several U.S. East Coast states, including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia. Verizon has said it has brought in thousands of temporary workers to avoid service disruptions.

Sprint Merges with Access Wireless to Heat up Lifeline Services

Sprint, a leading network carrier in US, has confirmed that it will merge with Access Wireless in an effort to come up as the largest provider of Lifeline services throughout the nation. According to reports, the carrier will own 70 percent of its new business, which will operate under the name i-wireless while the remaining 30 percent will be owned by i-wireless. Paul McAleese, i-wireless founder and CEO, will lead the combined business and i-wireless continues to operate on Sprint’s network.

mobile broadband service
mobile broadband service

Lifeline service provides discounted service to low-income consumers. It was launched during the Reagan administration and firstly it included landline phones only. However, in 2005, the service expanded to mobile phones also. FCC voted in March to expand the program to cover fixed-line and mobile broadband service; the expansion also included a provision for the creation of a new third-party verification system to prevent the fraud that has long plagued Lifeline.

“This alliance will create a vibrant competitor ready to embrace a modernized Lifeline program,” McAleese said in a press release. “As the category transitions to broadband, we’re enthusiastic about the potential to help customers more fully participate in today’s digital economy by making access to employment, education and healthcare services more affordable to low-income consumers,” he further added.

Owned by Kroger, i-wireless is the nation’s largest supermarket chain by revenue. Also, Sprint said that this merger will enable the new business to leverage its nationwide network and i-wireless’s distribution footprint, which consists largely of Kroger grocery stores. “I-wireless has a unique competitive advantage in its ability to accurately and efficiently qualify new customers for Lifeline services through a relationship with its strategic investor, The Kroger Co.,” according to Sprint’s press release.

Sprint’s Virgin Mobile brand lost about 1.6 million Lifeline customers three years ago when a federally required check found many users no longer qualified to receive the subsidies. AT&T, Verizon and other service providers also lost Lifeline users due to the FCC’s overhaul.

AT&T spends more than $109M & reclaims “King of Wireless TV Advertising” Crown

When it comes to marketing products and services, no one does it better than AT&T. Once again AT&T, the largest US network carrier, proved with its unique and newest marketing efforts. AT&T’s marketing campaigns generated more engagement with consumers during a recent 30-day stretch than advertising efforts from any other major U.S. mobile network, according to the ad-measurement company iSpot.AT&TSources revealed that AT&T has spent more than $109 million on video advertising and claimed 60.7 percent of all consumer engagements in the wireless industry from March 16 to April 15. Another major carrier, Verizon, spent around $41.5 million and generated 23.6 percent of all engagements between carriers & consumers while Sprint landed third, driving 9.3 percent of all engagements, spending around $38 million.

AT&T’s “Your Network” spot was “the most reacted-to” iSpot said, claiming nearly one-third of the brand’s engagement and nearly 20 percent of the wireless industry’s overall engagement. Even more surprising was the ad alone generated more than one million online views and around 14,000 social actions.

“AT&T is once again the king of wireless TV advertising, generating the vast majority of the industry’s online activity in the 30-day period tracked,” according to iSpot. “Earning nearly 61 percent of the industry’s engagement, AT&T spent an estimated $109.3 million running 21 ads over 18,000 times on national TV.”

Verizon produced and ran 12 different ads 6,933 times. “A Better Network as Explained by Ricky Gervais, Part Two” was the most popular among its produced ads. The spot accounted for 35 percent of all digital activity for Verizon, including nearly 800,000 online views and 30,000 searches.

Also, iSpot said that Sprint’s ads generated around 737 million views and the top performing ad was “How it Feels” which touts the carrier’s iPhone forever plan.