Tom Evslin’s Fractals of Change has posted an explosive piece about the way AT&T is handling their exclusive contract to install payphones in Iraq and how much they’re charging American soldiers to call home. Would you believe twenty one cents per minute??
As Tom points out with the going wholesale cost of voice minutes under a penny per minute, this seems very, very wrong. Tom also notes that the total amount of money we’re talking about here is a drop in the bucket for a company like AT&T. It’s mind-boggling to me that the execs at AT&T don’t realize that the poison PR they could suffer over this is not even close to being worth the cash they’re making. If the issue gets more mainstream coverage I wouldn’t even be surprised if it comes into play as regulators consider the BellSouth acquisition.
AT&T is also reportedly blocking access to 800 numbers of other carriers, which would be illegal in the U.S. Tom does mention that some other sources say AT&T isn’t blocking those numbers, but adding high surcharges to those calls. In either case, it’s shameful.
The Prepaid Press first reported the story back in January and has stayed on top of it, as the FCC and DoD dodged the issue, and now the American Legion is getting involved.