Business just isn’t sexy anymore

The AT&T earnings call focused heavily on wireless and on Uverse, with AT&T business services taking something of a back seat. Interestingly, the same thing was true a day earlier during Verizon’s call — the presentation of data certainly includes business results but the focus of most questions is on wireless and on FiOS.

I thought it was important to mention the news that Verizon COO Denny Strigl casually dropped halfway through the call that Verizon is teaming up with Accenture  on global sales of its network and professional services, but in checking out the competition, I find I was apparently wrong. No one else thought this was that big a deal.

When did global business become too boring to discuss? AT&T CFO Rick Lindner talked today about revenues from AT&T’s status as IBM’s primary global network services provider starting to kick in, as the two global giants move country by country through the process of moving IBM traffic onto AT&T’s network and learning how to work together. This seems to me to be significant, but again the headlines are fixated on iPhones and Uverse.

By Lindner’s own account, business sales make up 36% of AT&T’s revenues, trailing wireless at 41%. But as Lindner also repeatedly said, a growing number of AT&T’s business sales involve wireless services and that number is only going to grow with greater adoption of wireless data.

There was a time when business services drove everything else — consumers got technology only after businesses had helped drive economies of scale that made it cheaper and thus more affordable. Are those days gone?

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