Not Much Fight Left in AT&T as Anti-Merger Trials Stall

Sprint Nextel and C Spire have agreed to postpone their lawsuits against AT&T’s troubled merger with T-Mobile. A federal judge approved motions filed jointly by the companies and AT&T on Tuesday. Sprint originally sued to block the merger in September.

The deal has drawn attention from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission due to concerns that it would reduce competition and raise prices for consumers.

Dish Network has set its sights on entering the wireless game with T-Mobile if the acquisition fails, according to a Bloomberg report.

On Monday, the judge agreed to stay any court proceedings in the DoJ’s antitrust case to Jan. 18, allowing the wireless companies more time to revise the details of the proposed merger.

AT&T is in the process of deciding whether and how to revise the current transaction in order to achieve regulatory approval. The carrier has set aside US$4 billion in reserves, which could be part of a $6 billion break-up payment to T-Mobile.

Sprint Asks for a Temporary Stay

With AT&T taking a different direction on the merger, Sprint and C Spire are in a holding pattern.

“Sprint didn’t comment on the judge’s order to grant a stay in the DoJ case, but on Tuesday, Sprint did comment on the motion from AT&T, DT, T-Mobile, C Spire and Sprint asking the judge to grant a stay in the Sprint and C Spire cases,” John Taylor, a spokesperson for Sprint, told the E-Commerce Times. “The stay was granted shortly after we issued a statement postponing action.”

Sprint asked the court to grant a motion to stay further court proceedings related to Sprint and C Spire’s pending antitrust litigation against AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile until Jan. 18, 2012, Taylor noted, adding that the proposed stay is the same as the one ordered Monday in the case filed by the Justice Department and state attorneys general.

Sprint also asked that if AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile should decide to reinitiate court proceedings in January, then parties to all of the cases would agree to a Jan. 18 conference with the court to determine next steps.

AT&T and C Spire did not respond to our requests to comment for this story.

Where’s the Uproar?

With all of the combatants putting down their weapons, it begins to look like the merger is off the table.

“It looks like the deal is dead,” Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC, told the E-Commerce Times. “From what AT&T said, they were looking at finding a way to restructure the deal to make it palatable to the government, but I don’t think that is possible.”

AT&T originally said it was going to guarantee jobs, noted DiDio.

“This is unlike other deals where the jobs went bye, bye,” she said. “So I’m mystified as to why this one is getting rejected. Now it looks like we’re back to square one.”

There have been a number of other peculiarities surrounding the proposed merger, DiDio pointed out. “The thing that has amazed me is that T-Mobile never took the ads off the air that dissed AT&T.”

It’s also surprising that AT&T is not putting up a bigger fight in public, she said.

“None of the principals are talking. AT&T’s response has been muted and tepid,” DiDio observed. “Their reaction has been half-hearted. The fact that AT&T wasn’t louder tells me they know the deal is dead. So what’s the issue? Why is this one getting rejected?”

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

Related Stories

E-Commerce Times Channels

Why the Real Estate Industry Should Embrace the Cloud

The increased adoption of cloud computing over the past decade has enabled businesses across industries to meet their growing technology needs while efficiently gaining access to exciting new tools.

However, not every industry has kept up with the evolution of cloud technologies brought forth by digital transformation. A prime example is the real estate industry. Overall, the real estate sector has been slow to digitize operations and move to the cloud; leaving agents, brokers and their clients underserved.

Cloud computing can cover a lot of ground, with both infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a service availability. There is great potential for the real estate industry’s future in both areas.

When properly implemented, cloud computing accelerates the innovation and digitization of real estate services, bringing new apps and tools to the market more quickly. This also adds even more value to the buying and selling experience for agents, brokers and consumers alike.

While the cloud offers much potential for the real estate industry, it is important for companies to have an informed idea of what they want to accomplish before moving some or all their IT functions to the cloud. Don’t just jump on the cloud bandwagon; instead, determine what goals you want to achieve by moving to the cloud and develop a plan for an orderly transition.

If a company’s cloud infrastructure ends up looking exactly like its previous on-premises setup, it’s probably not taking advantage of all the benefits the cloud can offer. Real estate companies moving to the cloud need to think strategically about adding value through the transition.

With that caveat, there are tremendous benefits for real estate companies that move to the cloud.

More Data, More Power

A seemingly immense obstacle real estate companies face is the daunting task of implementing cloud-supportive infrastructure. But the truth is that real estate companies don’t have to plan, build, or operate their own data centers.

Instead, the cloud infrastructure providers can set up and maintain the infrastructure while real estate companies focus on what they do best: selling properties, serving customers, and equipping agents and brokers with the best tools to help them do their jobs.

Cloud infrastructure also offers real estate companies the computing power to run modern tools like data analytics and artificial intelligence. These technologies can help real estate companies find new customers, identify people likely to be interested in buying or selling their homes, and match customers to the best real estate agents to service their needs.

Real estate organizations often have access to huge amounts of market and customer data. However, the sheer volume of data makes it difficult to capitalize on. With cloud computing, real estate companies can gain access to the massive computing power needed to crunch the data, while paying only for the time they use that infrastructure.

Mobility and Disaster Recovery Solutions

Another benefit of storing data in the cloud is that it’s accessible from various devices, which is a boon for the growing mobile workforce. Agents, brokers, and home buyers and sellers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to get work done remotely. The cloud is much more flexible, accessible, and secure than being tethered to a physical hard drive or on-premises server.

Furthermore, companies that transition to the cloud don’t have to build and maintain a remote disaster recovery site, which can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. Instead, critical data in the cloud automatically fails over to a secondary site in the event of a disaster. All that is required to access data in the cloud — anytime, from multiple devices, anywhere — is a solid internet connection.

Budget-Conscious Security

Major cloud infrastructure providers have a security track record that most real estate companies can’t compete with. They have huge teams of security professionals and the best available security technologies, policies, procedures, and controls to protect the information on their servers and data centers 24/7 with little or no human intervention.

Cloud security measures also support regulatory compliance and establish authentication rules for users and devices. This high level of data security is particularly important in the real estate industry, with customers sharing banking and other personal data during what’s often the largest financial transaction of their lives.

Customers want their real estate transactions to be as secure as possible, and cloud infrastructure providers offer that higher level of protection.

Creating an Open Ecosystem

On the software-as-a-service side, the cloud is the perfect way to host multiple apps and software tools that improve agents and broker productivity. One way to approach this is through the development of a real estate app store that includes a range of software, including CRM tools, lead generation software, open house apps and productivity tools, with everything hosted in the cloud.

In doing so, this creates an open ecosystem, where agents and brokers have a choice of software tools to use, including some apps developed in-house and others from third-party partners. The cloud enables an open ecosystem in which agents and brokers simply decide which apps they want to use from a menu of options available. This provides flexibility while also empowering personal choice and customized solutions for home buying and selling and beyond.

Convenience Is the New Normal

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced real estate companies to conduct more business remotely, with documents shared online. Some firms have been moving a greater number of transaction steps to the virtual realm, using cloud-based services to host and gather documents and collect signatures.

While some customers will continue to demand face-to-face contact with agents and brokers, a significant number will embrace the convenience of a mostly online, cloud-based approach.

The industry is already seeing great benefits from cloud computing. Expect many more advantages to reveal themselves as the industry continues to digitize its operations.

Too often, we see that the failure to innovate today equates to playing catch-up tomorrow. The benefits of cloud technologies for real estate services professionals are clear, and the obstacles of price and infrastructure are entirely surmountable.

Business and information technology leaders in this industry must look beyond outdated legacy systems and begin embracing the cloud — now.

Rizwan Akhtar is executive vice president, chief technology officer of business technology, at Realogy. Akhtar holds an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of South Asia and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

Related Stories