AT&T to merge mobile and business units
AT&T has revealed plans to merge its mobile and fixed-line business units into a single division.
The move forms part of AT&T’s strategy to work more closely with business customers – which make up more than half of its mobile revenue – as cable companies attempt to tempt them away from traditional telecoms carriers.
The newly combined unit will be headed by the former head of AT&T’s mobile unit, Ralph de la Vega, while Glenn Lurie, head of emerging enterprises and partnerships at the company, has been promoted to la Vega’s previous position.
Andy Geisse, CEO at the old business solutions unit, is retiring after 35 years at the company.
The merger will include AT&T’s mobile and fixed-line operations, as well as customer care and network operations, and AT&T hopes to become a more seamless competitor as a result.
“They are simply making the case that the cornerstone of the enterprise sale is now [mobile] rather than [fixed-line],” said Craig Moffett, analyst at MoffettNathanson. “It makes a ton of sense with the cable industry focussing more and more on the commercial segment.”
Comcast put forward a successful bid for Time Warner Cable in February 2014, which is still awaiting regulatory approval, but the former has been building out its Wifi network and plans to have 8 million hot spots in the US by the year-end.
“The missing piece for cable is [mobile] and AT&T seems to be positioning itself to emphasise not only their strength, but cable’s weakness,” Moffett added.