This, and the tendency for company leadership to feel outsourcing means they can offload all responsibility for project success.
Something I've seen firsthand is companies that are pathologically incapable of making important decisions internally, and that is why they bring in a consultancy. Consultants go around to the various stakeholders (who can't agree on anything), gather requirements from each, then make recommendations. Despite the fact that the recommendations are basically a micro-model of the stakeholders' existing points of view and the result is the same no-win scenario the company was facing to begin with, the recommendations are acted upon, either in whole or in part. When the result is the same mess that would have inevitably happened even before the consultancy was brought in, at least now it's the consultants' fault that their recommendations didn't work out. Managers can then stir up a big stink when it's time to renegotiate the contract, they win some petty, unimportant concessions from the consultancy, and it's time to rinse and repeat.
It is far worse than AT&T bundling free phones with their service, and that got them split up into multiple companies.
If by AT&T you mean Ma Bell, then free phones? When did that ever happen? Under Ma Bell you leased your phone equipment from the phone company. Ma Bell got split up into multiple companies because it was a massive monopoly that maintained this and other predatory pricing practices.
It says a lot about the state of US news consumers if you think an advertisement for a brand loyalty program is "hard news."
Did we really think companies wouldn't charge money for advertising?
"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."