Wednesday, March 23, 2011

838 One Ringy Dingy

838 One Ringy-Dingy

In a much earlier incarnation and under another name and in another medium, this space predicted that the breakup of the Bell System would be temporary and useless.

The idea was that after all the dust settled, the “baby bells” would devour each others’ lunch and then, each other.

It’s wonderful to be able to say “I told you so.” Hence: I told you so.

First it was New York Tel, then Bell Atlantic, then Verizon as the little babies ate one another. Southern Bell, Southwestern Bell. Pacific Bell. Lucent. And now, the latest, which is not exactly a Bell-on-Bell, but close enough:

AT&T, which really isn’t the original AT&T, plans to buy T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom. Forty Billion dollars. Deregulation increases competition. Right?

Our original theory was this: telephone rates will fall because other means of communication and more modern pricing systems will force the original ATT to reduce rates and improve service.

By now, we know what deregulation has done to air travel. Makes you want to ride one of those buses with the unlicensed drivers and the zip-off EZ-open tops. Makes you long for the New York Central Railroad.

Back to telephones: T-Mobil is no big deal. But it does have 33 million subscribers. ATT will have something like 130 million wireless customers after the acquisition. And that’ll make them bigger than Verizon. Big whoop.

Grow or die, right? Wrong.

T-Mobil is the only national carrier losing customers. And ATT is offering twice its own value for the buy, according to Bloomberg News.

Consumer Reports Magazine rated ATT the worst mobile carrier. Expanding their network to include T-Mobil isn’t going to make them any better (unless you believe what they tell you about the fourth generation broadband wireless) but it will give them 39 percent of the customer base, to Verizon’s “measly” 31 percent.

Which means 39 percent of America’s cell phone users will get to say “Can you hear me now?” in unison. And unison is a beautiful thing.

Plus, we can all re-live the days of Laugh In where Lilly Tomlin, playing “Ernestine” can make us all chuckle simply by saying “One Ringy Dingy... Two Ringy Dingies.”


--Here’s a song no one could do today, “the Belles of Southern Bell” by Del Reeves. Sexist and pre baby bell breakup. But it’s fun.

--Sarah Palin is visiting Israel to court the evangelical vote here in the states. But she misunderstood one of the landmarks she visited. Being from Alaska, she thought she was off to see the Whaling Wall.

--Friday upcoming, March 25, is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, in which 146 workers were killed because the exit doors were chained shut. Tragic as it was, it galvanized organized labor, which has since squandered its power and numbers. Wonder how well the exits work in today’s remaining New York City sweat shops.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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