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AT&T Wireless Hopes for an Edge

Techstination feature for Tuesday, December 2, 2003

AT&T Wireless hopes a faster data network... will give it an Edge. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Now that it's easier for cell phone users to switch carriers... and keep their numbers... AT&T Wireless is hoping to lure customers with its high speed data technology. The new EDGE network claims average connection speeds of 100 to 130 kilobits per second. Unlimited service costs about 80 dollars a month. So how much carrier hopping or churn will take place as result of number portability? AT&T Wireless CEO John Zeglis tells us...

"Nobody really knows. We look around the world and we see countries where it has been a yawn and we see countries where it has been explosive. The conventional wisdom is that we'll go somewhere in between there. We'll see some pressure on churn in the early months, eventually we'll reach an equilibrium where it's just natural that everybody takes their numbers wherever they go. And we'll go back to the kinds of customer marketing and the rates of churn that we've had for the same reason."

AT&T Wireless and its rivals are seeing more customers using text messaging services. Zeglis says the hope is services like multimedia messaging... adding pictures and voice will catch on too. And for that to happen...

"The first thing we have to do is get our companies to let each others customers... to send messages across our corporate boundaries. That's interoperability in our lingo."

Which, he says, has helped to make text messaging successful. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin