updated 01:55 pm EDT, Tue October 11, 2011
Executives approach conflict with comedy
Executives from all three major US cellular providers formally kicked off the CTIA expo in San Diego this morning. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was the first carrier executive to take the stage, wasting no time before he made a few digs at AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph de la Vega. Hesse mentioned his thoughts when AT&T first announced its T-Mobile buyout plans, comparing the event to President Lincoln's assassination.
"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" Hesse quipped, before joking that De la Vega "looks a lot like John Wilkes Booth."
Hesse's comments regarding the merger were short and limited to a few jokes. The Sprint executive quickly moved on to talk about his company's environmental endeavors.
De la Vega was the next executive to speak at the keynote. He took a short moment to respond to Hesse before switching the subject back to challenges facing the industry.
"It's not often that you get to come to CTIA and get introduced by Dan Hesse, comparing you to a historical figure who happened to be an actor," De la Vega said. "From the guy who is the best actor in wireless that we have today, right?"
Verizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead was the last carrier executive to speak at the introductory keynote. Verizon has been less vocal than Sprint in its criticism over the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, and its chief executive entirely avoided the subject during the CTIA keynote. Mead instead highlighted Verizon's machine-to-machine technology in enterprise and healthcare environments.
Ralph de la Vega