Alternate Reality

AT&T Celebrates Opposite Day With Call For Carrier Openness

Confused about AT&T’s sudden support of “openness” and the end of “walled gardens”? So were we — until we discovered what was really going on.

By (@JRRaphael)

February 15, 2011

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

AT&T Carrier OpennessAT&T’s recent grandstanding about the need for carrier openness was actually just a gag, eSarcasm has learned.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (who may or may not be Stephen Colbert) took the stage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday. Stephenson talked about the need for carriers to “create openness” in mobile devices,” saying he wanted AT&T’s network to be “the most open” and calling for an end to “walled gardens.”

The entire speech, according to a company representative, was a celebration of Opposite Day — a lighthearted holiday observed by the company every February.

“Look, everyone knows AT&T is as draconian and restrictive as it gets,” a spokesperson tells eSarcasm. “We assumed everyone would know Randall was joking.”

The spokesperson points to AT&T’s long-standing love-fest with the iPhone as evidence of the carrier’s actual stance on openness and walled gardens. The representative also notes AT&T’s ongoing practice of locking down its Android devices in order to prohibit users from installing applications outside of the official Android Market.

“Obviously, we love Apple and its China-like approach to mobile technology. When products don’t come with their own magical fences, we’ll do whatever it takes to build them,” the spokesperson explained.

As part of its continued Opposite Day celebrations, AT&T will hold two more events this afternoon. The first will focus on the quality of AT&T’s network and how its phones “never drop calls.” The second, billed as the carrier’s grand Opposite Day finale, will be titled “AT&T Is Not The Shittiest Company In The World.”

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