SBC Communications, the second-largest regional phone company in the US, is in talks to buy AT&T for more than US$16 billion, according to executives close to the negotiations. \nA deal, if reached, would be the final chapter in the 120-year history of AT&T, the first technological giant of the modern age and the original model for telecommunications companies worldwide. A deal would be a reunion of sorts, putting back together some of the largest pieces of the Ma Bell telephone monopoly, which was broken up in 1984. \nThe talks, which the executives described as "fluid" and "very, very sensitive" would unite SBC, a Baby Bell with some 50 million local-line customers, with AT&T, its much-diminished former parent. \nAT&T, which only two decades ago ranked among the nation's very largest companies, is a shadow of its former self, focusing almost exclusively on corporate customers. Last year, AT&T said it would no longer market itself to its traditional retail customers. \nStill, the executives cautioned that the talks could very well collapse. Indeed, AT&T has been in talks before. In 2003, negotiations between the company and BellSouth fell apart at an advanced stage when BellSouth saw how weak AT&T's prospects were. The executives involved in the current talks said that many issues, including a final price, had yet to be resolved. \nSpokesmen for the two companies declined to comment. \nThe talks come as the telecommunications landscape has shifted from traditional fixed-line service to faster-growing, higher-margin businesses like wireless, broadband and corporate services. And with pricing wars continuing, telecommunications companies are looking to merge or risk being put out of business. \nIn theory, SBC and AT&T have complementary technology. SBC has a strong presence in California, Texas and Illinois, although, as with all the Bell companies, its fixed-line business has slid as customers use their cell phones more. \nSBC has also made a strong push to sell broadband lines to consumers and is expanding its fiber optic network to provide video services in the coming year or two. The company also resells satellite television service from the DISH Network. \nAT&T, on the other hand, has the largest international fiber network and the deepest client list of major corporations, which are considered valuable because they buy services in bulk. AT&T is also a major provider to the government and to companies that operate globally. \nWhile SBC continues to grow slowly thanks to demand for its high-speed Internet lines, AT&T's business is expected to shrink about 15 percent this year. It is trapped in a vicious price war with its main rival, MCI. Verizon Communications, the largest regional Bell company, and SBC have also started marketing heavily to small businesses.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang