This story originally was published on RealMoney at 9:37 a.m. EST. Bad for cable. Bad for vendors. Yeah, people are scrambling for takeaways from the AT&T ( T)
deal . They want to buy Alltel ( AT) and they want to buy Sprint ( S) and they want to see if Verizon ( VZ) makes a bid for Vodaphone ( VOD) or vice versa -- probably the latter. They even have a rap on the vendors that will win from this -- Alcatel ( ALA) -- and the vendors that will lose -- Lucent ( LU). (It's always Lucent, because Lucent's been talking about the big orders from AT&T, nee SBC, for two years now, and the only thing more frustrating for them is China.) I look at it very differently. I believe this is, again, about stopping cable. I say that because AT&T is the DSL company, and it thinks of nothing but giving away DSL so that cable gets hurt. I prefer my cable Internet service to DSL, but I am not price-sensitive, which puts me in the rarefied 1% of customers that AT&T could care less about. Anytime any phone company does something aggressive, it is about cable, because if they don't get aggressive, cable takes their bread and butter away. These Baby Bell companies can't raise price to save their lives, so their business is all about the value added, and AT&T has been much more aggressive with DSL than anybody else. Oh, and equipment makers: Sure, Alcatel is in bed with AT&T, and sure, AT&T will expand reach. But anyone who remembers the fiasco of vendor orders post-AT&T Wireless, when everything was frozen pending the deal, has to be saying, "A pox on all houses." Too bad, the group was getting mojo. It will still have some, but not enough to do the job. Random musings: All of the impact of this deal will get discussed on my radio show today, so be sure to listen in. Remember, we'll be talking together at a new, earlier time: 1-2 p.m. EST. That's also the time you'll need to call me at the new number, 1-800-743-4443.