AT&T Rolling Out New GSM Plans, Hopes to Slow Bleeding
By Eric Lin, Thu Apr 15 00:00:00 GMT 2004

AT&T is launching new national GSM calling plans and a new ad campaign next week. They need to change their reputation, and their prices if they are to slow down the churn.

Although an Associated Press article said AT&T alone are losing up to 150,000 more subscribers a month after WLNP went into effect, a new report from In-Stat/MDR claims that few people have taken advantage of number portability so far. However the new report shows that of all the major US carriers, AT&T has the most subscribers who are considering switching. They have also lost the most customers to WLNP already.

We've noted in the past that Cingular did not buy AT&T for the subscribers alone, but if AT&T does nothing to stop the loss of their subscribers that will significantly lower their value. If their perceived worth falls too low, Cingular will want to go back and re-negotiate the deal, which would mean less money for AT&T. Which is why even though they are a lame-duck company on paper, AT&T continues to offer new features and plans in hopes of attracting or at least holding on to subscribers.

Today AT&T announced they will begin offering new nationwide GSM plans starting Monday, April 19. AT&T has been expanding its network over the past year, almost doubling their coverage. They've been especially active building out in the 850 mHz band and the new plan (and coverage map) is designed to promote that- especially since 850 mHz signal travels further and penetrates buildings better.

AT&T will launch a new campaign, obviously directed at Verizon's infamous "Can you hear me now?" with a the tagline "How many bars do you have?" trying to combat their reputation for poor GSM signal strength and availability. Will the new ad campaign and the new calling plans be enough to help change perceptions about AT&T?