AT&T is a major cable television company in the U.S. In 1877 AT&T was founded by Graham Bell Alexander and his associates (Bray, Campbell & Grant, 1974). Today the American Telephone and Telegraph Company has been transformed into various kinds of operations including consumer broadband wireless and business respectively. Forty-five billion was birded from the Comcast Company via its broadband-cable television and this was the beginning of the recent change in the company’s narrative. Nevertheless, the company is not interested in selling its broadband band unit. AT&T has an interesting background.
The telephone was a creation by Alexander Graham in the year 1876 with the careful advisory of his financial associates Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders. Their innovation and success eventually manifested into the AT&T Company during the year 1885, and it acted as Bell’s secondary to plan and build the first operational long-distance network. AT&T was introduced to the company the whole Bell system after it purchased the assets from Bell, in the year 1899 (Strother, 2002).
1927, the long-distance telephone service was launched in London as a two-way radio at the cost of $75 for a period of 5 minutes. In 1956, the Submarine telephone-cable service was offered to Europe since the AT&T company radio-telephone service had become blotchy (Bray et al., 1974). Formerly the AT&T Company acted as a monopoly with the resentful permit from the U.S. The transpacific cable service was introduced after suit of civil antitrust came into the agreement with the department of justice in 1964.
Small and large competitive companies in the rural and urban are working together to face the dominant carriers in the U.S. which are Verizon Wireless and AT&T as they gather more dominance over the wireless market industry. Comparing the outcomes to its rival competitors, AT&T Corporation displayed a total revenue reduction in 2018 first-quarter annually by -3%, in spite of increased revenue by its competitors by 4%, during the same period. Due to stiff competition in the market’s small-scale carriers in the rural setup such as MetroPCS, even the giant carriers like T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel, AT&T has been working on its product and services to remain the giant in the industry (Coll, 2017). The emerging branded corporations have mirrored significant issues, which has advanced the industry to a duopoly. Regardless of their orientation, both rural and urban carriers have common policies apprehensions within the allocated spectrum, roaming data and operation of devices (Coll, 2017).
Over the previous year, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have been able to dominate the broader spectrum of wireless plus the subscribers of mobile phones in the entire country. Currently, the two companies have partnered dominance of about 70 percent of the wireless industry. The rival competitors way behind in regards to the overall number of subscribers. Towards the middle of the year 2012, Verizon recorded a sum of 111million with regards to its wireless consumers, whereas AT&T had 105 million subscribers of the same wireless product. T-Mobile and Sprint recorded 33 and 56 million subscribers respectively (Bray et al., 1974).
The data management issue arose after it was discovered that a prison-based mobile corporation known as Securus was dashing out services that facilitated prison officers to monitor and track cell phones in America within a short time. The allegations preceded an investigation that was conducted by Senator Ron Wyden. The investigation led to the finding that privacy of location was a significant issue of concern and this prompted the auditing of the communications big players and their affiliations with other data corporations that deal with customer data business. According to Angwin et al. (2015), a top-secret room was discovered in one of the company’s network amenities in San Francisco in the early 2000s. The room, which was referred to as room 641A, contained the National Security Agency’s (NSA) equipment for capturing and analyzing the traffic passing via fibre optic cables within the facility. Precisely, the cables were a part of the Internet central source and a system identified as a splitter was sending a copy to the secret room. The implication was that the NSA was accessing everything because the pipes did not carry just AT&T customers’ data but everyone’s (Angwin et al., 2015).
The careful analysis discovered that brokers were responsible for selling locations of Americans to the top investors without their knowledge to the extent of sharing it even with the web portals. These actions are supposed to be met with dire consequences of nullifying such companies. Other findings that were made included the smart bug location that would have enabled an individual to trace the data location of mobile users secretly (Coll, 2017). The internet service providers have asserted to minimize the transaction of data location of their customers, though it is not promised to be a long-term venture until they are satisfied that they can fully safeguard their consumer’s data location via advanced systems of technology.
AT&T has started to minimize the distribution of their consumers’ data location with the companies that act as middlemen. Moreover, the corporation has started terminating their agreements with the data location trackers. However, sharing of data would still be vital especially when it comes to issues like preventing fraud and call routing. They are determined to safeguard the security and privacy of their consumer’s location. Whereabouts and inform their customers regarding their execution plans to nullify their contract agreement with these middlemen companies (Sandoval, 2014). The corporations’ top agenda is to safeguard their customer’s details, on the other hand, their termination of agreements with the brokers for the data location services is also necessary for the entire safety of the end consumers and also ensuring potential lifesaving services like roadside emergencies are also taken into consideration. This means that the company will not indulge into location agreements contract not unless they are fully satisfied that their customer’s location data is privatized through advanced technological systems (Sandoval, 2014).
Firstly, data packages run in different intensities, and most may operate suitably even if they are not relegated to the company’s fastest and most expensive storage tiers. The company will reduce costs and also enhance system quality once they consider the needs of the end-user that are connected with all data set. Notably, this will likewise be improved by shifting data that is not performance-sensitive towards less energetic tiers. Today, tiered systems of storage are not perfect yet. As such, data may only move in between the tiers at a prolonged rate and operate the risk of negating benefits due to failing to keep up with data usage rate (Bray et al., 1974). However, they are likely to run into situations whereby the company has to pull back raw data into a high-performance location of their Information Technology stack. Notably, their storage system ought to react to changes in performance as well as requirements throughout the life cycle of the data in case they want to prevent latency and bottlenecks issues (Bray et al., 1974).
Secondly, the company ought to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands through scaling. Data is amassed in the company as it expands, and, if it is critical data like intellectual property or employee-generated unstructured information like emails and file versions. Precisely, this data can’t be compromised. While the company grows, they ought to track usage of data and deliver uninterrupted aid for all storage tiers to make sure the general system is correctly prepared and managed to scale. Thirdly, users do not comprehend systems and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the company to make sure they stay in touch with clients to solve the current issue. In most cases, training staff for the goal and utilization of a given set of information systems is hard and fruitless. Consequently, the underlying goal should be to deliver a seamless consumer experience and conceals the systems from which the information is coming. Nonetheless, this does not mean only that only a single enterprise-wide system should be availed containing all the data. Always, there will be the need to include numerous information systems, yet the information included within them ought to be displayed in a human-friendly manner (Coll, 2017).
The following is a SWOT analysis of The American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Notably, since the need to prevent data leak is directly proportional to profitability, the analysis addresses the current market extensively. As earlier indicated, the NSA’s aptitude to spy on huge amounts of internet traffic in the U.S has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with AT&T (Sandoval, 2014). While there is extensive evidence that American telecommunications corporations worked in close connection with spy agencies, newly revealed N.S.A. records have branded the partnership as unique and particularly productive. One of the documents categorized the relationship as “highly collaborative,” while another one explicated AT&T’s “extreme willingness to help (Angwin et al., 2015).”
AT&T is involved in a wide array of classified activities, which date from 2004 to 2014. Moreover, it has allowed the NSA access via various techniques protected by distinct legal rules. Notably, this access includes billions of emails that flow across the company’s domestic networks (Angwin et al, 2015). As such, At&T provides technical aid when carrying out court orders allowing the wiretapping of communications especially when there are threats that require immediate investigation and time is of the essence. Angwin et al. (2015) asserts that AT&T gave email traffic access many years prior to Verizon’s consent in 2013. Hence, the company’s ability to provide foreign-to-communication traffic has been especially essential to the NSA because large quantities of internet communications in the world pass through U.S. cables. This information will help solve the data management issue since the timely discovery of a prison-based mobile corporation dashing out services and enabling prison officers to monitor and also track cell phones in America within a short time shows the company’s ability to handle communication issues (Angwin et al, 2015).
Abilities: In the US, AT&T currently spans across a majority of urban areas. The company offers both LTE and 4G coverage through several other techniques. All while they are providing for around 350 million people. Notably, when put together with the company’s enhanced backhaul, these carriers ought to improve AT&T’s network capabilities as well as offer better mobile broadband speeds used in video and data services (Sandoval, 2014). Importantly, this company strives to exceed possibilities in the range of locations, to reach the most people as possible. Precisely, in these areas, customers have access to broadband Internet connectivity through wireless fidelity technology.
Broadband Offerings: The communications industry goes on moving towards Internet-based technique with the capability of blending wireless services and traditional Wireline. The company hopes to continue focusing on widening its high-speed U-verse broadband as well as video offerings. Additionally, AT&T’s leverage and size should allow it to use the advantage of the progressing telecommunications space through the enhanced spectrum, data services, and capacity (Coll, 2017).
Tighter Margins: The price wars involving the leading service providers of wireless phone have been hurting overall gains at AT&T. Also, when competing with other company’s smartphones have prompted most customers to shift. Most importantly, pay-as-you-go and low-cost plans from such peers have negatively impacted AT&T. Moreover, this carrier’s spending to update infrastructure and networks have augmented expenses and improved its already substantial debt obligations (Bray et al., 1974).
Ability to Adapt: AT&T has a complicated structure and vast size, which increases its struggle to conform to a wireless segment that is always changing. Other corporations might tweak the programs for discount payment as well as data offerings more often and avoid disturbing a vast customer base (Bray et al., 1974). Therefore, AT&T must stay cognizant of the changes in FCC regulations to evade impacts on its aptitude to gain capacity and spectrum.
Acquisitions: In the recent past, AT&T purchased DirecTV for approximately $48.5 billion. This offers the company accessibility to the 18 million subscribers of DirecTV’s in Latin America. Moreover, it boosts the cash flow potential while producing yearly cost savings. Also, the extra free flow of cash is currently crucial for the company because it has decided to make a substantial investment in its broadband/wireless lineup (Angwin et al., 2015).
Improvement Spectrum/capacity: The speeds of data transmission as well as general usage have grown tremendously over the last few years. Therefore, wireless carriers have seen soaring costs when it comes to lifting spectrum and capacity, especially in densely-populated metropolitan regions. Generally, wireless providers compete according to reliability, accessibility, transmission speed, and price (Angwin et al., 2015).
Continued War on Price: Notably, sprint has established new strategy directly focused on Verizon and AT&T. Upon crossing over to the competitor, the company is going to provide half price specials and exclusive deals. As such, these deals are likely to harm the market share of AT&T’s. While consumers generally win during such price wars, they result in the general suffering of service providers’ margins (Angwin et al., 2015).
The American Telephone & Telegraph Company has structured its business undertakings into four central operating segments. The first is the Wireless Division which encompasses internet services and cell phone. The second segment is Wireline Division, which includes voice product lines for the local as well as long-distance businesses, consumers, and government services. Notably, this segment also provides data product lines like video services, access to the Internet, not to mention several other business services offered by the company. Thirdly, the company has Divisions for Advertising Solutions, which involves advertisement of print directory. Lastly, there are other Subsidiaries such as payphones and operating services (Angwin et al., 2015).
The Porter’s Five Forces analysis analyzes the competition level in industry and also the development of business strategies. Notably, the company has managed to install surveillance equipment in more than seventeen of its Internet hubs in the United States. This is far more than the achievement of its primary competitor, Verizon Communications Inc. Most importantly, AT&T’s engineers also used new surveillance technologies first, which the NSA invented. Therefore, the current trends indicate a partnership, but not a predetermined relationship, as documented in one of NSA’s reports recounting the association between the two entities. Therefore, Porter’s Five Forces elements that are related to AT&T has been explained and analyzed below.
High level of Competitive Rivalry: Before the expiration of patents in the 1890s, AT&T stood as the only corporation offering telecommunication services. Nonetheless, after these patents, 6000 new corporations joined the market. Hence, the degree of competition was higher. The company remained a monopoly in the industry until 1980 when the United States’ government, as well as the Justice Department, split it up into minor companies. At present, four main companies exist in the telecommunications sector: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile. The main rival of AT&T is Verizon because currently, it has a higher number of wireless subscribers compared to AT&T. Also, the wireless market is mostly saturated, and there is 91 percent of users now using mobile phones, and the sole method of increasing sales is through stealing clients from opponents (Brandom, 2017).
Moderately High Threat of Substitute Services and Products: The primary service provided at AT&T is communication and people have been using diverse communication tools. Therefore, the direct alternative of the old wireline telephones is the wireless cell phone communication. With the introduction of the internet, increased modes of voice communications services on the internet have gained much popularity like Skype, VOIPs, Viber, and also Whatsapp. Anyone can stream almost anything straight from different devices with internet connectivity; hence, the number of cable subscribers is also decreasing (Brandom, 2017).
High Buyer’s Bargaining Power: In the past, the telecom industry would have been regarded as a monopoly and AT&T had the highest number of market share. Nevertheless, patents that AT&T held expired and after its split up into smaller companies, there was a loss of market share and also an increase in competition within the industry. Due to more opponents within the market, the clients have increased option to pick from and are additionally price sensitive. In other words, they look for better membership plans. The customer-base has significantly expanded from 300k members to more than 3 million. In an attempt to prevent consumers from seeking membership in other telecom firms, these companies have been using extensive contracts to make its profitable for clients to remain loyal to the company and additionally boosts their switching expenses (Brandom, 2017).
Low threat of New Entrants: In the early days, AT&T faced a minimal challenge from competitors because they had patents and, hence, the new entrant’s risk was more significant. Conversely, after the expiry of the patent, the company suffered new competition influx whereby around 6000 joined the industry. The budget necessities for establishing a business within this industry were also higher. Precisely, this was because of a considerable capital needed to set up the system towers. Currently, the wireless system market is intensely saturated at 91 percent, such that there is no profitability for new companies entering the market (Brandom, 2017).
Moderate Supplier Bargaining power: AT&T applies two network equipment vendors, which are Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent (Brandom, 2017). Notably, this alliance has strategically made them enjoy scale economies.
Based on AT&T’s primary history and competitors identified in the paper, there is no doubt that the organization is a major player in the telecommunication industry. However, a current data management issues in the organization needs to be resolved else it will lead to other problems like hacking and identity theft. As such, this necessitates an understanding of the general methods as well as ethical tactics for handling this management issue. Additionally, some of the identified methods have worked in the past. Notably, the strategy identified for addressing the data management issue and also the two alternative strategies point towards the issue of market trends in the telecommunication business (Coll, 2017). This is evident in the SWOT analysis and also Porter’s Five Forces model.
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