Trouble Knocks AT&T as Labor Union Rejects Proposed Contract



The nation’s second largest telecom giant, AT&T, witnesses its first labor problem in years when a group of more than 40,000 union workers rejected a proposed contract.

As per a report by Fortune, union members rejected the benefits contract that was completed in June between the company and representatives of the Communications Workers of America. The contract comprises health care benefits for AT&T Mobility workers. The other agreements cover wages, pensions, and work rules.

“Neither side had much to say initially” reported AT&T, after the contract was rejected last week, a move which AT&T spokesman described as “unfortunate.” The current agreement includes a no-strike provision and expires at the end of the year.

As per a statement released by company few days back, the two sides “agreed to meet in a continuing effort to reach an agreement.” As per another statement released by AT&T spokesman “We’ve got time to work this out.”

A spokeswoman for the Communications Workers of America said “We are in discussions with AT&T management on negotiations from another tentative agreement.”

A month end strike of approximately 40,000 wireline workers of Verizon ended in May after CCA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers agreed to a four-year labor contract with the nation’s largest telecom giant. At that time, some analysts speculated that the strike hit the company’s telephone service as well as Internet business and FiOS cable TV, because the replacement workers were not able to meet the demand of installations for new customers. CFO Fran Shammo shared at the MoffettNathanson investor conference in New York that new orders and installations for FiOS service have “significantly dropped.”

The rejection from AT&T’s labor union has ended a league of approved agreements between the union and the carrier. Back in April, 9,400 wireless employees in the southwest region nodded to a new agreement, and later in December, some 24,000 workers in the traditional telephone side approved a new contract.

AT&T Expands Coverage of GigaPower by Beginning Deployment in Louisville, Kentucky



AT&T leaps another step forward in its gigabit services by initiating deployment of GigaPower in Louisville, Kentucky. Local news sources reported that AT&T confirmed installation of fibers by its technicians in the neighboring areas.

AT&T seems to be going toe-to-toe with the giant network and search engine Google Fiber, which is also planning to bring its 1 Gbps service to Louisville very soon. AT&T is moving in a pattern it established in other cities, starting from Austin, Texas and recently in California around the San Francisco metro area.

At present, the carrier’s technicians are concentrating on passing homes, rolling out fiber via pole attachments, or underground, reports WDRB. With AT&T GigaPower, users are able to experience considerably faster internet speeds over a 100% fiber optic network and play games online without any lag time for buffering. Additionally, customers can enjoy entertainment on any screen with AT&T and DIRECTV, with much faster internet speeds than ever.

As per the previous announcement made by the company, AT&T disclosed its intention to take GigaPower to Louisville back in March, after Google Fiber announced Louisville as its choice to be the next fiber recipient. But the move triggered a row over pole access. An ordinance was passed in favor of Google Fiber, approving attachment of its fiber optic cable to utility poles. As expected, AT&T reacted to the approval and filed suit against the city. As per the carrier, the city does not hold any authority to give approval to attachments to poles that are owned by the AT&T.

Hood Harris, AT&T’s Kentucky President shared with WDRB that the move is to meet consumer requirements for faster internet services.

The US carrier is planning to sail 1 Gbps services to a minimum of 56 metros in the nation this year. In this league, AT&T moves on to add GigaPower cities to its list while the Louisville project will advance in phases.

Major US Carriers Extend Condolences in the Form of Free Calls and Texts to Turkey After Istanbul Airport Attack


The Istanbul Airport Attack has shaken the very basis of humanity, leaving dozens dead and many severely wounded. The major US carriers have come forward and extended a helping hand in the tough times for the relatives and family members of the unfortunate victims. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile are providing free calls and text messages from the US to Turkey.

As per an announcement made by AT&T, any charges for calls made by landline or wireless customers from the US to Turkey in between June 28 to June 30, were waived or credited. This covered texting, landline, and mobility (GoPhone and Postpaid) calls. “Our thoughts are with the people of Istanbul and our customers who have friends and family there,” as per a statement passed by AT&T following the attacks.

Another major carrier, Verizon also wanted to support its customers affected by the airport attack in Istanbul. As per an announcement, the company did not charge its customers for international texts and calls made in between June 28 and June 29 from the US to Turkey. The announcement covers both landline as well as wireless calls. “More than 170,000 Verizon employees worldwide extend condolences to all our friends and family in Turkey,” the company mentioned in a statement posted on its website.

T-Mobile also joined other carriers in helping its customers connect with family and friends by offering free services from the US to the affected country. John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile said “Today’s attack in Istanbul is both tragic and horrifying,” “Our hearts are with everyone affected by this senseless act.” The offer is in effect from June 28 to July 5, 2016 and valid for all T-Mobile Simple Choice prepaid and postpaid customers, as well as customers of GoSmart Mobile, MetroPCS and WalMart Family Mobile.

Marcelo Claure, Sprint CEO, also passed a message “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those personally affected during this difficult time,” “We want to do everything we can to show our support and heartfelt sympathy to all Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile customers with family and friends in the region.” The company is waiving international call fees as well as message fees from June 28 to July 5.

FCC’s Spectrum Auction Bidding to Conclude on Wednesday

Federal Communications Commission


Against all speculations of extension, broadcaster bidding in the FCC’s reverse spectrum auction will finally close on Wednesday as per FCC’s Incentive Auction dashboard. It was scheduled to run just 52 rounds initially, but now two more rounds can be added on Wednesday.

As per the announcement made by the FCC on Friday “The auction schedule displayed in the Auction System and the Public Reporting System currently shows rounds scheduled through round 54.” “While the auction could conclude before then, we put bidders on notice that it could also continue longer and that they should plan accordingly. The base clock price will reach $0 in round 52; however, it is possible to have up to two additional bidding rounds if the final bidding status has not yet been determined for any VHF stations.”

BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said on Monday that the FCC will disclose the amount that will be topped to conclude the forward auction, at the end of reverse auction. This amount will be determined by adding both the provisional winning bids from reverse auction and $1.75 billion for dissipating expenditures and FC administrative costs.

As per the FCC, if this amount is not topped in the forward auction, the reverse auction will start again with a reduced amount of Spectrum on the table. This procedure would go on until the clearing target sum is achieved by forward auction bids.

Piecyk shared that a clearing target above $50 billion can make investors think about a longer auction procedure, including several rounds and, noted a goal of more than $70 billion may “stoke fears that the auction could drag into 2017 or that the FCC will not be able to source much spectrum in the big markets at an attractive price.”

On the contrary, Piecyk mentioned that a clearing target of $30 billion or fewer might result in a faster auction timeline for investors and suggest that the FCC had the potential to secure 100MHz of new spectrum in most markets all over the country.