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As Wireless Changes, So Must Marketing
July 30, 2015
We have just seen quarterly earnings reports from AT&T and Verizon, and they continue to grow at a healthy pace. Sprint and T-Mobile also have started to grow once again. However, the larger wireless marketplace is splitting into smaller segments. Understanding this is one of many keys to success for any wireless carrier going forward. The larger wireless marketplace is changing.
Sprint Gets Up Close and Personal With Direct 2 You
July 9, 2015
Sprint's Direct 2 You program seems to be another home run in its recovery-and-expansion effort. It follows the success of Sprint's Cut Your Bill in Half plan over the last few months. Direct 2 You started out in Kansas City, Miami and Chicago. It is now in 28 cities and expanding rapidly. Sprint just announced its expansion into New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.
AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp Flunk Privacy
June 22, 2015
An Electronic Frontier Foundation survey published last week gave AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp the thumbs down when it comes to protecting user privacy. Google and Twitter also got a black eye. The five were among 24 companies the EFF evaluated on criteria worked out over the past four years. WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, also took criticism in the EFF's fifth annual report, "Who Has Your Back?"
The Changing Faces of the Wireless Industry
June 11, 2015
There seem to be two distinct sectors forming in the wireless industry. One side is wireless as part of a bundle of services. The other is wireless as a standalone product. This is not a case of one side being a winner and the other a loser -- they're just different. The rules for success seem to be changing as well. That means how we measure and track companies on both sides may have to change.
And the Dish Ran Away With T-Mobile?
June 4, 2015
T-Mobile, which has tried unsuccessfully several times to get acquired, is now in talks with Dish, according to press reports. The purchase price and possible cash-stock mix that could pay for the deal remain to be thrashed out. The two companies reportedly are planning a merger with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen to chair the new company and T-Mobile head John Legere (shown here) to be its CEO.
AT&T May Leave Anti-Net Neutrality Ranks
June 3, 2015
AT&T has just revealed what it would take for it to change its stance on Net neutrality: regulators' approval of its purchase of DirecTV. The company has offered to accept the rules adopted by the FCC early this year, according to reports. It was just last month that the FCC denied petitions from a slew of companies -- including AT&T -- to delay its implementation of the rules.
AT&T Spreads Rollover Data Cheer to GoPhone
May 14, 2015
AT&T Mobility introduced Rollover Data early this year. The offering is very similar to its successful Rollover Minutes for voice calls, which began a few years ago. The question is, will it be just as successful for data? It looks like the answer is yes, as it is now expanding the perk to GoPhone. GoPhone is an AT&T Mobility prepaid brand, and prepaid is a rapidly growing wireless segment.
The Next Big Split in Wireless
May 7, 2015
The wireless and wire line telecom industry completely reinvents itself every few years. Right now, everything seems to be changing. Seven years ago, the handset leaders were BlackBerry and Nokia. Today, those companies are struggling to stay on the charts. Today's handset leaders are Apple and Samsung for hardware, and Apple and Google for operating systems.
T-Mobile Offers Free 2-Week Vacation From Verizon
May 5, 2015
T-Mobile on Tuesday launched "Never Settle for Verizon," an aggressive response to Verizon's "Never Settle" ad campaign that gives Verizon customers an opportunity to test T-Mobile's network for themselves. T-Mobile promises to pick up any fees incurred by customers who participate in the free trial, whether they ultimately decide to switch to T-Mobile or not.
Google's Low-Fee Fi: Ho-Hum
April 23, 2015
Google carrier partners Sprint and T-Mobile with more than 1 million free, open WiFi hotspots Google has verified as fast and reliable. Users' devices will move automatically to the fastest connection -- 4G LTE being the standard in the United States, accessing 3G or 2G if only those speeds are available. The program will work in more than 120 countries.
T-Mobile Sows Seeds of Discontent in SMB Arena
March 23, 2015
Following a sterling Q4 in which it added 2.1 million individual customers, T-Mobile last week announced it was going after competitors with its "Un-carrier for Business" plan. By offering one flexible rate plan, T-Mobile vowed to put an end to the pricing shell game and compulsory haggling businesses currently experience. T-Mobile's Simple Choice for Business plans have a 10-line minimum.
Google's MVNO Approach May Show Up Carriers
March 2, 2015
Google on Monday confirmed that it plans to launch a mobile virtual network operation, or MVNO, later this year. Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who heads up operations for Android and Chrome, commented on the undertaking in a Q&A following his keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Google in essence will provide the same service as a wireless carrier.
Google Pads Its Wallet
February 24, 2015
Google on Monday announced a two-pronged thrust to beef up its efforts in the mobile wallet arena. It has struck agreements with Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile to preinstall the Google Wallet app, including its tap-and-pay functionality, on Android phones the carriers will offer later this year in the United States. The devices must run KitKat or later.
Verizon Addresses Supercookie Conundrum
February 3, 2015
Users of Verizon Wireless' network and products will find it will be easier to opt out of the carrier's tracking activities. The carrier has been using a "supercookie" identifier to follow smartphone users' mobile Web activity. Verizon has given consumers ways to opt out of various marketing programs, but escaping the reach of supercookies has proven to be elusive for consumers.
Is T-Mobile Burning Too Hot?
January 29, 2015
T-Mobile US strikes again with its new Score offering. Score is like its Jump program for the company's credit-challenged customers. I like all the activity going on at T-Mobile. It is alive once again. That's the good part. However is it starting to burn too fast and too hot? If so, could it burn itself out? Jump is T-Mobile's version of similar plans offered by other carriers.
Cablevision Freewheels Into WiFi-Only Phone Territory
January 27, 2015
Cablevision on Monday announced plans for Freewheel, an all-WiFi mobile phone service offering unlimited data, talk and text to residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The prepaid service will connect to Cablevision's Optimum Online WiFi network of 1.1 million hotspots. Optimum Online is Cablevision's high-speed Internet service.
T-Mobile Courts Credit-Challenged Customers
January 26, 2015
T-Mobile last week announced Smartphone Equality, a new credit program aimed at existing T-mobile customers with less-than-sterling credit who have paid their wireless bill on time for 12 straight months. Under the new plan, this group qualifies for the best pricing and offers on devices and tablets available to T-Mobile customers -- including those with the best credit ratings.
Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection
January 23, 2015
Google reportedly is planning to set up shop as an MVNO, purchasing bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own wireless service. Details are sparse, but Sprint is said to be putting a volume trigger into its contract that would allow for renegotiation if Google's customer volume should exceed a predefined number. The project, led by Nick Fox reportedly bears the code-name "Nova."
FreedomPop's $5 WiFi Plan Whittles Wireless Bills
January 22, 2015
FreedomPop on Wednesday announced a new plan that provides Android smartphone users with access to 10 million WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for $5 a month. That sum will give any smartphone or tablet -- regardless of any carrier service it might have -- unlimited talk, text and data on FreedomPop's WiFi hotspot network. Users will have to download FreedomPop's Android app.
AT&T's Iusacell Deal Could Change Mexico
January 22, 2015
AT&T recently completed its acquisition of Mexico wireless carrier Iusacell -- so what does that mean for the future of AT&T? The growth potential is enormous. The first step is over. AT&T has closed the acquisition. It was one of the quickest deals ever, taking roughly two months from start to finish. The second step is also complete, with AT&T's Thaddeus Arroyo being promoted to CEO of Iusacell.
Verizon Offers Connected-Car Service Even Beaters Can Use
January 21, 2015
Verizon last week unveiled a new connected-vehicle service at the Detroit auto show. Verizon Vehicle, which will go live this spring, will be compatible with nearly every vehicle made since 1996. It will be available directly to consumers regardless of their mobile carrier. Designed to enhance driver safety, Verizon Vehicle will provide diagnostic technology and live assistance with GPS accuracy.
Verizon's Cookies Never Crumble
January 16, 2015
Verizon advertising partner Turn is using the carrier's Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH, to maintain tracking cookies on smartphones even after privacy-minded users have deleted them, Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist and lawyer at Stanford University, reported this week. Turn shares the cookies with dozens of major websites and advertising networks.
Wireless Data Plans Are on a Roll(over)
January 15, 2015
Great news: Rollover is back and can save you money. Just in case you haven't heard about it, three wireless carriers have kicked off this new competitive battle with rolling data plans. The good news is rollover data works and saves customers money. During the last month or so, three wireless carriers -- AT&T, T-Mobile and C Spire -- have introduced programs in this space.
Feds Pounce on Sprint for Phone Bill Cramming
December 18, 2014
The United States government is delivering a one-two punch to Sprint over the practice of cramming -- allowing third parties to place unauthorized charges on customers' bills. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau on Thursday filed a civil suit against Sprint over the issue. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission reportedly is planning to hit Sprint with a $105 million fine.

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