His immediate prediction: Comcast or Charter (which is using the “spectrum” brand) would acquire T-Mobile.
Well, why not? The big get bigger and only AT&T now has both cellular and satellite coverage across the USA. And, no matter the various denials, everyone is most likely talking to everyone … except, of course, Mr. Stephenson. He’s already poised to make the next steps to integrate a more robust distribution model.
Can using mobile spectrum for broadband really be a cheaper way to “overbuild” wired (and fibered) broadband distribution models? We’ll see. Place your bets by watching the next FCC spectrum auction. If it sets records (again) you can pretty well bet that a lot of folks think the technology is at hand, or at least very close. AT&T, using DirecTV, is already marketing new bundles combining wireless and satellite. Now, what they might do for long time customers of both remains to be seen. (I presume calling to cancel would answer that question.)
Speaking of DISH, the Federal Confusion Commission voted to deny the credits the company believed it “earned” when it partnered with SNR Wireless and Northstar Wireless to bid in the recent AWS spectrum auctions. DISH had said it “followed the rules.” So, can a federal agency get away with changing yesterday’s rules? The FCC voted 5 to 0 to deny the $3.3 billion in credits if DISH did follow the rules. Is that fair? Looked at another way, can a Federal agency rewrite the rules because it doesn’t like the outcome? More to the point, does anyone have to follow the rules?
My new book “The Revolutionary Evolution of the Media” continues! Go here to read it from the beginning!
Charter shareholders will vote on Tuesday, September 21st to proceed (or not?) with the planned acquisitions. How do you think Dr. Malone will vote the shares he controls? Gee, let’s think …
Whither Wall Street and the media sectors? While advertising has been taking a bit of a beating, it pays to remember that subscription revenues are becoming more dominant. And, while I appreciate Disney’s Bob Iger and his muted trepidations about ESPN’s growth, I think the whole “what-did-you-do-for-me-last-evening” view of investing is overblown. It takes a lot of time to destroy a business model. After all, I’ll bet somewhere someone thinks he’s still paying for a Prodigy subscription. Still, the real question is … well, cue Ace singing “How Long?”
Yes, the basics are shifting … but all of the variations on the model being tested will tell us a lot this next year and a half. The best buys continue to be the bundles from satellite and ISPs (don’t “MSO” and “MVPD” seem so dated now? Therein lies the arc of the answers.).
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