AT&T Corp. last week outlined plans for fixed wireless services and network upgrades, reshuffling its top management ranks to accommodate the creation of a wireless division.
John Zeglis, president of AT&T, will become chairman and chief executive of the AT&T Wireless Group. The new company will include all of AT&T's fixed and wireless technologies, including voice and data mobility, international wireless and E-business investments. AT&T plans to have an initial public stock offering of the company this spring, executives said.
AT&T also realigned its business units. Rick Roscitt, chief executive and president of AT&T Solutions, will become president of AT&T Business Services. He replaces Michael Keith, who will become executive vice president with responsibility for building and launching AT&T's fixed wireless local-exchange business where cable is unavailable.
The wireless technology will supplement AT&T's existing investment in cable technology, which it gained through the acquisition of Tele-Communications Inc., Denver, last year, and Media One, Englewood, Colo., which is still pending.
"We like cable; we invested a bundle of money in cable," Zeglis said. "But even as [the cable companies] come on, no way will it reduce this huge opportunity for fixed wireless."
Some other key executive changes include Kathleen Earley's move to president of AT&T Data and Internet Services, a new unit within AT&T Business Services responsible for all IP, data and managed network services. AT&T also appointed Daniel Somers as chief executive and president of AT&T's Broadband and Internet Services Unit.
In a separate announcement, the former executive in charge of that division, Leo Hindery, who left AT&T this fall, was named chairman and chief executive of GlobalCenter, the Internet and hosting division of Global Crossing Ltd., a Bermuda-based carrier.
AT&T executives also detailed plans to add new optical fiber to connect 30 major U.S. cities. The network will offer OC-192 service now and OC-768 service when available.
Lisa Pierce, a director at Giga Information Group, a Cambridge, Mass.-based consulting firm, said despite its grandiose plans, New York-based AT&T still has a big job ahead.
"They have not had outstanding success yet," she said. "The penetration of telephony [on cable] is very low."
Further, AT&T has made no mention of how it will deploy DSL services, she said. The carrier promises DSL but has not said how it will install it, what kind of speeds it will offer or what price points will be available, Pierce said.
Michael Skinner, president of Ideal Technology Solutions, a Detroit integrator and one of AT&T's most active services resellers, said AT&T has the power to get other businesses to understand what E-commerce is all about.
"When everyone sees AT&T change its whole business process to take it on, it makes other companies, such as [General Motors], listen," he said.
Skinner's company will become a service provider with the Automotive Network Exchange, an IP-based automotive network in Detroit for trading partners, so he said he believes it is only a matter of time before his company will find itself competing against AT&T.
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