AT&T's Randall Stephenson, John Stankey, John Donovan, Ralph de la Vega and Bill Smith were probably the most effective telecom management of the last decade. Paul Singer and Jesse Cohn of Elliott Management - or whomever they brought in - could never match the record of the current management they want to displace. The contentions in the letter (below) are often misleading and in some cases simply errors. The best pros, like Craig Moffett, don't see a potential for big gains in T.
For example, Singer writes
"AT&T today is in prime position to be the early market leader in 5G given its premier spectrum positioning, ... We believe AT&T will be able to quickly move forward while its main competitors remain either spectrum-disadvantaged or distracted as they integrate major transactions. However, while AT&T is well positioned, success in 5G will require meaningful investment and improved execution; anything less and AT&T risks missing this opportunity and falling behind again."
That's nonsense for two reasons. First, Verizon and Sprint have better 5G spectrum positions than AT&T. AT&T and Verizon have similar low band spectrum. Verizon has 800 MHz of 28 GHz mmWave spectrum, more and better than AT&T's mmWave. Sprint's 160 MHz at 2.6 GHz is providing exceptional reach. It currently has covered over 11% of the U.S., more than any one else in the U.S. and could rapidly expand - with or without the merger.
Singer is correct that pulling ahead in 5G would require a large investment. But he also promises to return more money to investors, through dividends or buybacks. He also calls for reducing, "costs through platform integration and consolidation of residual systems." That's absolutely a good idea, but would add $billions to capital spending.
Elliott is also talking nonsense with, "Not long after announcement, it became obvious that the government would block the [T-Mobile-AT&T] deal." Actually, shortly after the announcement almost everyone expected the deal to go through. It took about 5 months before it looked like it might be blocked.
It's easy to prove many things if you can pick and choose data.