AT&T announces it will purchase Time Warner for $86 billion. The buyout grants AT&T distributor power over CNN and HBO. AT&T says the deal will give customers ‘unmatched choice, quality, value and experiences that will define the future of media and communications” and the new company would “lead the next wave of innovation in converging media and communications industry.’ AT&T CEO Stephenson:
This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.
AT&T fights back against the $100 million fine that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) planned on issuing against the company. The FCC claimed that AT&T mislead customers about its “unlimited” data plans. AT&T in a filing with the FCC:
The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible. Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.
50 Cent calls AT&T “racist” in posts on his widely-followed Twitter and Instagram accounts. He says AT&T wants to keep “urban friendly” programming off its lineup.
Man Im sorry I have to say this, but AT&T is racist they have had issues in the past and here we go again. 500,000 homes will not be able to view the next episode of POWER…When this was happening they were saying they had the STARZ and other networks that created programming targeting multiple ethnicity’s now I guess (THERE NOT F–KING WITH N—-S).SMH…Change your cable package from AT&T to anything else. It’s 2015 and these people are still racist. They are dropping all channels that are considered urban friendly.
Starz and their paid talent can spin up whatever they like, but the bottom line is we’re NOT going to negotiate a deal that is bad for customers. In these negotiations, our customers are all that matter to us.
The FCC fines AT&T $100 million for misleading customers about its “unlimited” data plans. AT&T failed to adequately tell customers that they could experience speeds that were slower than the normal speeds AT&T advertised. AT&T says it will dispute the fine:
The FCC has specifically identified this practice as a legitimate and reasonable way to manage network resources for the benefit of all customers, and has known for years that all of the major carriers use it. We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC’s disclosure requirements.
AT&T agrees to pay 105 million, 80 million of that in consumer refunds, to settle a mobile cramming investigation by the FTC, FCC, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Mobile cramming constitutes unauthorized charges on phone bills that often go unnoticed by consumers, such as ringtones and premium text messages. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler:
For too long, consumers have been charged on their phone bills for things they did not buy. It’s estimated 20 million consumers a year are caught in this kind of trap, costing hundreds of millions of dollars. It stops today for AT&T.
AT&T buys DirecTV for $48.5 billion, giving stockholders $95 a share in cash and stock. The deal will make AT&T the country’s second-biggest pay TV provider, behind Comcast. AT&T has about 5.7 million TV customers through its U-verse service, while the satellite TV operator has about 20.3 million customers in the United States. Randall Stephenson, chairman & CEO says:
This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens. If you think about what we’re trying to accomplish, we’re trying to get way down the road to get content across multiple devices. The more we peeled the onion back, frankly the better we felt about this.
Cuban stars in a commercial advertising a new AT&T service called U-verse, which allows one to watch live TV on almost any device, almost anywhere in one’s home.
Rep. Massa introduces legislation known as the Broadband Internet Fairness Act, part of a larger discussion of net neutrality. The law seeks to regulate Internet Service Providers looking to implement usage-based pricing plans like those proposed by Time Warner. The regulations are designed to determine if the pricing is anti-competitive. An AT&T spokesman says the bill calls”
for a radical and unprecedented government mandate that will demand that consumers have only one all-you-can-eat pricing model for Internet services.