BusinessWeek writes the U.S. Telecom industry is losing juice, with the telecom services sector off 10% this year--more than the Dow, the S&P 500 and even the much-pilloried investment banking index. Wireless and broadband are sputtering because 80% of Americans now have a cell phone, and 79% of homes with a PC have broadband service, the story says.
Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc. both claim any economic downturn isn't slowing them down. "I have been looking hard at discretionary services -- in wireless, that's ring tones, music, games; in FiOS, it's premium channels, video on demand and DVRs -- and we aren't seeing an impact," Executive Vice President Doreen Toben told analysts. AT&T was singing the same tune, and on Friday announced it had expanded its "U-verse" TV service into a new Southern California community. Still, the Los Angeles Times noted AT&T had recently raised the prices of call waiting, caller ID and other stand-alone features, the third rate hike in the last year. And the Chicago Tribune said AT&T Illinois on Friday announced it was raising the price for basic DSL service by $5, from about $20 a month to about $25 a month.