AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) has had a bit of an up and down week in the press. Their wireless network got very low marks in a satisfaction survey put out by Consumer Reports. While US Cellular earned top honors and Verizon and Sprint earned some bragging rights, AT&T’s iPhone owners remain decidedly unimpressed with their network service. I suspect some of this is perception – if you’ve got the phone of your dreams, then the thing holding you back from the full bandwidth nirvana experience must be the carrier of course. Even if their network weren’t strained by the data, there’s just no way they could ever come out on the right end of the PR on this one. Now the company faces disgruntled customers at a time when that iPhone exclusivity appears to be nearing an end and Android competitors are looming larger all the time.
On the positive side though, AT&T announced two quite substantial contract wins on the international corporate front. First, they signed a six year, $150M deal with Smiths Group, under which they will provide a range of infrastructure and solutions to the international conglomerate’s 23K employees spread across 300 locations worldwide. It’s not a brand new win, but rather an expansion of an earlier global WAN contract from two years ago. And second, they announced a seven year global networking agreement with Linde Group AG for a WAN covering 1,700 sites across 60 countries. Linde, a leading supplier of industrial and specialty gases, is seeking integrated services built on a single global VPN to replace its current design of separate inter-region networks – the familiar goals being improved performance, simplification, and lower costs.
Which all goes to show you, it pays to be huge. There’s always something good happening somewhere, even when the media spends several days labeling you ‘The Worst Wireless Network’ with more than a little bit of glee in their voices.