Archive for the ‘AT&T’ Category

Lawsuit: AT&T’s DirecTV Now is a flop and AT&T lied to investors about it

April 5th, 2019
An AT&T logo on a wall.

Enlarge / AT&T logo. (credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr)

AT&T lied to investors in order to hide the failure of its DirecTV Now streaming TV service, a proposed class action alleges.

AT&T told investors that DirecTV Now was succeeding even as its subscriber base fell due to price increases and the discontinuance of promotional discounts, said the complaint filed Monday in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The complaint accuses AT&T and executives including CEO Randall Stephenson of violating the US Securities Act by "knowingly or recklessly" making false statements to investors and failing to disclose problems that were affecting DirecTV Now sales.

Via quarterly and annual reports, SEC filings, press releases, and other statements and documents, AT&T and its executives made statements "to securities analysts and the media that were designed to influence the market for AT&T securities," even though these statements "were materially false and misleading in that they failed to disclose material adverse information and misrepresented the truth about AT&T’s finances and business prospects," the complaint said.

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Posted in AT&T, directv now, Policy | Comments (0)

FTC investigates whether ISPs sell your browsing history and location data

March 27th, 2019
Illustration of a lock and keyhole surrounded by data bits.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | KrulUA)

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the privacy practices of major Internet service providers, and it has ordered top ISPs to disclose whether they share user Web browsing histories, device location information, and other sensitive data with third parties. ISPs also have to provide details on how they collect and use personal information to target advertisements at consumers.

The FTC yesterday sent orders demanding information to AT&T, Comcast, Google Fiber, T-Mobile, and Verizon. In the cases of AT&T and Verizon, the FTC sent separate information requests for the companies' home Internet and mobile broadband divisions.

All major ISPs denied selling or sharing their users' browsing histories and other sensitive information in 2017, when they convinced Congress and President Trump to prevent implementation of broadband privacy rules. But since then, it has been reported that T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T were selling their mobile customers' location information to third-party data brokers despite promising not to do so.

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Posted in AT&T, Comcast, FTC, Google Fiber, ISPs, Policy, Privacy, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

Verizon refuses to admit that its “first to 5G” commercials are misleading

March 26th, 2019
A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

The advertising industry's self-regulatory division has urged Verizon to stop claiming that it has America's first 5G network, but Verizon claims that its "first to 5G" commercials are not misleading and is appealing the decision.

The National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit managed by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, announced its recommendation to Verizon last week. The NAD investigated after a challenge lodged by AT&T, which has been misleading customers itself by renaming large portions of its 4G network to "5G E." But AT&T's challenge of Verizon's 5G ads was "the first case involving advertising for 5G" to come before the self-regulatory body, the NAD said.

Specifically, AT&T challenged three Verizon commercials that included claims that Verizon is "first to 5G" and that it has launched America's "only 5G ultra wideband network." While "ultra wideband" does refer to real radio technology, it's more of a marketing term when Verizon uses it in the context of 5G. Verizon doesn't even always use that qualifier to describe its future 5G service—at one point, this commercial says Verizon is "building America's first 5G network" without the ultra wideband language.

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Posted in 5G, 5g e, AT&T, Biz & IT, verizon | Comments (0)

AT&T’s “5G E” is actually slower than Verizon and T-Mobile 4G, study finds

March 22nd, 2019
Screenshot from an AT&T commercial showing text that reads,

Enlarge / Screenshot from an AT&T commercial. (credit: AT&T)

AT&T's "5G E" service is slightly slower than Verizon's and T-Mobile's advanced 4G LTE networks, a study by OpenSignal has found.

As Ars readers know, AT&T renamed a large portion of its 4G network, calling it "5G E," for "5G Evolution." If you see a 5G E indicator on an AT&T phone, that means you're connected to a portion of AT&T's 4G LTE network that supports standard LTE-Advanced features such as 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and three-way carrier aggregation. All four major carriers have rolled out LTE-Advanced. But while Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile accurately call it 4G, AT&T calls it 5G E.

Sprint sued AT&T, alleging that AT&T is gaining an unfair advantage by making false and misleading claims to consumers.

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Posted in 4G, 5G, 5g e, AT&T, Biz & IT, LTE, lte-advanced, Policy, Sprint, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

AT&T and Comcast claim “anti-robocalling milestone” with new Caller ID tech

March 20th, 2019
An AT&T logo.

Enlarge / The AT&T logo is displayed at a retail store in Washington, DC, on Monday, March 21, 2011. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

AT&T and Comcast today said they've completed a successful cross-network test of a new Caller ID authentication system, and they plan to roll out the technology to consumers later this year.

AT&T and Comcast are among the phone providers implementing the new "SHAKEN" and "STIR" protocols, which use digital certificates to verify that Caller ID numbers aren't being spoofed.

Today's AT&T/Comcast announcement said the carriers completed "an exchange of authenticated calls between two separate providers' voice networks that is believed to be the nation's first." They called the test an "anti-robocalling fraud milestone."

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, Comcast, robocall, shaken/stir | Comments (0)

AT&T raises DirecTV Now price—again—after promising lower post-merger bills

March 12th, 2019
An AT&T logo on the side of a building.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | ljhimages)

AT&T is reportedly raising the price of DirecTV Now by $10 a month and notifying current subscribers that they will pay the new, higher price starting in April.

DirecTV Now packages today cost $40 to $75 a month before add-ons such as HBO, and current customers will reportedly pay $10 a month more regardless of which package they subscribe to, making the prices $50 to $85. News reports say AT&T is also reconfiguring its channel packages for new subscribers, adding HBO to basic packages while eliminating dozens of channels that aren't part of the AT&T-owned Time Warner Inc. New customers will reportedly be able to choose from two slimmer plans costing $50 or $70 a month.

The price hike and channel reduction are happening despite AT&T promising that its acquisition of Time Warner would lower prices for customers. When the Department of Justice tried to stop the merger, AT&T told a judge in a May 2018 court filing that the merger "will enable the merged company to reduce prices."

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, directv now, HBO, time warner | Comments (0)

Sprint warns customers: Don’t be fooled by AT&T’s “fake 5G”

March 11th, 2019
Screenshot from an AT&T commercial showing text that reads,

Enlarge / Screenshot from an AT&T commercial. (credit: AT&T)

Sprint is warning customers not to be fooled by AT&T's "fake 5G" claims.

One month after suing AT&T, Sprint took out a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times to spread the word that AT&T's "5G E" is really just 4G. The ad takes the form of an open letter and begins:

Dear wireless consumers,

While Sprint is working hard to deliver mobile 5G and the first 5G smartphone in the US, AT&T is hard at work trying to convince you that they already won the race to 5G with something they call "5G Evolution." That is simply untrue.

Don't be fooled. 5G Evolution isn't new or true 5G. It is fake 5G. They would love for you to believe they are different... better. The truth is AT&T is simply offering customers a nationwide 4G LTE network just like Sprint and all the other major wireless carriers. It's not 5G.

We filed a lawsuit against AT&T demanding that they immediately end their false and deceptive marketing campaign.

AT&T seems to be delighted by the depth and breadth of their deception. AT&T admitted that the company's 5G E advertising is strictly a narrative to outline how they want the world to work—not a reflection of today's reality.

Sprint's open letter repeated its own misleading claim that it needs to merge with T-Mobile in order to deliver a robust nationwide 5G network. Still, Sprint said it plans to offer "real mobile 5G in nine major metro areas" by this summer, regardless of whether the merger is approved.

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Posted in 5G, 5g e, 5g evolution, AT&T, Biz & IT, Sprint | Comments (0)

Trump to staff on AT&T/Time Warner merger: “I want that deal blocked!”

March 4th, 2019
President Donald Trump speaking to a crowd.

Enlarge / US President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on Saturday, March 2, 2019. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

President Donald Trump tried to pressure the Department of Justice into blocking AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner Inc., according to a new report by The New Yorker. However, White House staff apparently ignored the president's orders to pressure the DOJ, and it's not clear whether Trump ever made any demands to the DOJ directly.

The New Yorker report—titled "The Making of the Fox News White House"—details Trump's close relationship with Fox and his disdain for Fox competitors that provide less-glowing news coverage of his presidency.

Trump has long made his hatred of CNN well-known, and during his campaign he promised to block AT&T's proposed takeover of CNN owner Time Warner. The Trump administration's DOJ in November 2017 filed a lawsuit to block AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner. But whether Trump had intervened wasn't clear—AT&T ultimately succeeded in court and completed the merger, despite failing in an attempt to prove that Trump meddled in the merger review.

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Posted in AT&T, DOJ, Policy, time warner, Trump | Comments (0)

As HBO and Turner bosses quit, AT&T announces big Time Warner reorganization

March 4th, 2019
The HBO logo on a TV screen with static.

Enlarge (credit: HBO)

HBO is planning to produce 50 percent more original content this year, even as new owner AT&T reportedly plans significant layoffs across its Time Warner subsidiary.

WarnerMedia, the AT&T division created after its June 2018 acquisition of Time Warner, told Ars today that it is planning to reduce costs for "duplicative back-office functions," while increasing investment in producing content. WarnerMedia today also issued a press release announcing a reorganization that will create four business divisions "around entertainment networks, live programming, content production, and affiliate and advertising sales."

"From an HBO content perspective, and this is irrespective of today's announcement, they are already increasing and looking to increase their original content by 50 percent this year," WarnerMedia Senior VP of Corporate Communications Emile Lee told Ars.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, HBO, WarnerMedia | Comments (0)

HBO boss quits as owner AT&T seeks more shows and more profit

March 1st, 2019
HBO CEO Richard Plepler.

Enlarge / HBO CEO Richard Plepler at the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (credit: Getty Images | Drew Angerer)

HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced his resignation yesterday, less than a year after AT&T completed its acquisition of HBO and the rest of Time Warner Inc.

In a company-wide memo available in this Hollywood Reporter story, Plepler told employees that he made the "difficult decision" to leave at "an inflection point in the life of this wonderful company."

Plepler worked at HBO for nearly 28 years, serving as chairman and CEO since 2013 and as co-president from 2007 to 2013. He struck a positive tone in his memo. "Thanks to all of you, we are today churning on all cylinders both creatively and as a business," he wrote. "Thanks to all of you, I can move on to the next chapter of my life knowing that the best team in the industry remains here to carry on our continued progress and success."

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