Sprint offers Simply Everything

Sprint has now taken out its hammer to help flatten the plan world.  In a shocking and unexpected move, which Sprint calls “Revolutionary” (NOT), it is offering a me-too $99.99 plan.  But they do have a clever name, “Simply Everything.”

Here’s their PR puff:

Sprint Launches Revolutionary $99.99 ”Simply Everything(SM)” Plan

Plan Defines Simplicity, Offers Customers Unlimited Voice and Data
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Feb 28, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — In an industry-defining move, Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced it will launch a domestic unlimited pricing plan that gives customers unlimited voice, data, text, e-mail, Web-surfing, Sprint TV(SM), Sprint Music, GPS Navigation, Direct Connect(R) and Group Connect(R) for $99.99 a month. The new pricing plan is available to existing and new customers beginning tomorrow.”This is a bold, unprecedented move,” said Dan Hesse, president and CEO, Sprint Nextel. “Wireless today is about much more than just voice. It is about data services – texting, email, video, pictures, music, navigation, surfing the Web and more. Customers want these applications, but without complexity and without having to worry about their bill. The $99.99 Simply Everything plan delivers it all right to the palm of their hand now.

“Today’s handsets are powerful data devices. Each day they get better, faster and easier to use with more intuitive user interface designs and full Internet access. Our high-speed networks were built with this in mind and it’s where we believe the battleground lies – offering fast access to the best content and data services. We are removing the barriers for customers to feel free to use all of the features of their phones.”

The $99.99 Simply Everything plan is available to customers on both Sprint’s CDMA and iDEN networks. Existing Sprint customers can switch to the Simply Everything plan without extending their current contract either by contacting Sprint customer service or by stopping by any participating Sprint retail location. New line activations require a two-year agreement.

For families, Simply Everything includes an incremental $5 discount for each incremental line, up to five lines on the same bill. For example, two lines would amount to $194.98 ($99.99 + $94.99); a third line would cost an additional $89.99. This is in sharp contrast to the multi-line unlimited rates offered by some competitors. The Sprint plan offers significant savings the more lines a customer adds.

The move to unlimited pricing that includes data signifies a turning point for the wireless industry. Nationally accepted measures of voice quality now show very little, if any, difference among the top wireless providers.

“All major carriers have good voice networks,” Hesse said. “Our network is about more than voice and more than just being the largest wireless data network. It is about allowing customers to connect with people, information and entertainment. It is about simplicity, usability and real value. The $99.99 Simply Everything plan eliminates overage surprises and provides a worry-free environment.

“Our investments in innovation and speed are becoming the new areas of differentiation. These are the areas where we perform best and where we can deliver a wireless advantage for our customers.”


Qwest may see help sailing into view over the Verizon

Okay, bad puns aside, and as a follow-up to my prior posting, Verizon Wireless is talking with Qwest about a wholesale (resale) agreement.  Given Verizon’s network coverage, that makes a lot of sense.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Qwest’s Verizon negotiations will help Sprint sprint to a solution.

From pun central,  I’m Jonathan Kramer reporting.


Qwest is on a Qwest for a New Wireless Partner

Qwest CEO Ed Mueller is reportedly looking for a new wireless partner to supplement (perhaps replace?) the existing deal with Sprint/Nextel.  Qwest does not have its own wireless network, so it’s stuck as a reseller.

If you’re Sprint/Nextel’s CEO, and the CEO of a major reseller…oh, let’s call the reseller Qwest…says in an analysts meeting that, “We have a hole in wireless” you’d better be worried.


Cell Siting News 2/25/2008

Taliban demand night-time cell tower shutdown
Register – London,England,UK
Reportedly the hardline Islamic militia believes that cell
towers are being used to locate and track Taliban gunmen.
The BBC quotes Taliban spokesman …

Concern over the amount of cell phone towers
AM900 CHML – Hamilton,Ontario,Canada
HAMILTON (AM900 CHML) – There’s growing concern
about the number of cell phone towers that are popping up
throughout the city. Hamilton’s Board of Health …

Taliban Threatens Cell Towers
By Noah Shachtman
In Iraq, when the locals start calling in too many tips to
government-friendly forces, the insurgents blow up the
neighborhood cell tower, in an attempt to sever the
relationship between the military and the people. …

Company proposes new site for Schuylerville cell tower
The company planning to build a controversial cell tower in
Schuylerville is looking at a new location on the public school property.

2nd cell-phone tower opposed
A group of Heritage Hills residents is protesting a proposal for a
second cell-phone tower at the condominium complex, and is also
upset with the Zoning Board of Appeals and the notification process
for public hearings.

Can you hear me now? Not in Albin
Wyoming Tribune – Cheyenne,WY,USA
Because they have the same carrier, he would be able to talk to
them all he liked for free — if Albin had a cell tower. And there’s
Kelly Krakow, …

Cell tower appeal goes to Rogers City Council
Benton County Daily Record – Bentonville,AR,USA
The Planning Commission voted to deny the request for a conditional
use permit to put a 90-foot cell tower at 3200 Seminole St., which
is in residential …

Hinesburg cell tower strains neighbor relations
BurlingtonFreePress.com – Burlington,VT,USA
In 2005, Nextel Corp. was interested in leasing public land in Hinesburg
to erect a 100-foot cellular tower, but the deal fell through. …


Yes, the world really is getting FLATTER.

T-Mobile has jumped on the $99.99 flat-rate bandwagon.

Following Verizon’s and AT&T’s lead, T-Mobile has said:

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 19, 2007 – T-Mobile USA, Inc., announces today that it will offer consumers a plan that includes unlimited nationwide wireless calling and unlimited nationwide messaging for $99.99 per month. This offer will be available beginning Thursday, Feb. 21, and will be a great value for new and existing T-Mobile customers.

“T-Mobile is passionate about helping people stick together with those who matter most, and providing them with the best value is one way we help our customers do that,” said Jeff Hopper, vice president, Marketing, T-Mobile USA. “This offering empowers people to communicate as much as they like on their own terms – whether it’s voice, text messaging, picture messaging or IM.”
With this new plan, domestic roaming and long distance charges are included. Unlimited messaging includes text messages (SMS), picture messages (MMS) and instant messages (IM).

T-Mobile also offers its popular myFaves plans — affordable unlimited calling plans suited for a majority of its customers — beginning at just $39.99 per month.More information and qualifying details will soon be available at www.t-mobile.com.

More pressure on MetroPCS, Cricket, etc.


Apple iPhone Field Test Mode

Apple iPhone in Field Test Mode
You know you want it.

You know you need it.

Yeah, it’s the secret FIELD TEST menu buried deep inside your Apple iPhone. Once you reach the menu by ‘dialing’ the code *3001#12345#* and then pressing the send button, you find yourself facing the top level menu of the test mode.

The photo to the left is that top “Field Test” menu screen.

Beneath this menu is a series of screens that provide detailed information about the cell site you’re connected to; the cell system; the current call; and lots more.

Go, ahead, enter the digits. Have fun!


Birds/NEPA 1, FCC/CTIA 0

Today, the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed an FCC order regarding tower siting as being in violation of the proper NEPA standard.

The case caption and introduction are below, followed by a PDF of the decision.

No. 06-1165

PER CURIAM: The American Bird Conservancy and Forest conservation Council petition for review of an order by the Commission denying in part and dismissing in part their petition seeking protection of migratory birds from collisions with communications towers in the Gulf Coast region. In Re Petition by Forest Conservation Council, American Bird Conservancy and Friends of the Earth for National Environmental Policy Act Compliance (“Order”), 21 F.C.C.R. 4462 (2006). Their petition claimed that Commission rules and procedures for approving new towers failed to comport with the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq., the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”), 16 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. We vacate the Order because the Commission failed to apply the proper NEPA standard, to provide a reasoned explanation on consultation under the ESA, and to provide meaningful notice of pending tower applications.

Court Decision


Who said the world is round? Apparently not AT&T Wireless or Verizon Wireless.

When it comes to wireless usage pricing, the world is flattening out. AT&T and Verizon have announced $99.99 (gee, I’m glad it’s not $100!) flat rate ‘all-you-can-eat’ talk plans.

The chief losers here are MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless, as well as the other flat-rate carriers who have found a niche in this sector. Oh, yes, AT&T iPhone users are also losers since the AT&T flat rate plan won’t apply to their phones. Too bad, so sad.

Below is Verizon’s press release, followed by AT&T’s press release



BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless is moving the industry forward with the introduction of game-changing voice and data plans. The builder and operator of the nation’s most reliable wireless network today announced the immediate availability of new Nationwide Unlimited Anytime Minute Plans. The plans give customers all their calls – anytime to anyone in the U.S., including landline phones – at a flat rate for $99.99 monthly access. BroadbandAccess Plans are also being enhanced so customers now have two choices for Internet browsing, e-mail access and downloading files. The new BroadbandAccess plans, available on March 2, will offer customers monthly data plan options of 50 Megabytes (MB) or 5 Gigabytes (GB) (5,120 MB).

“Verizon Wireless is changing the way customers think about wireless,” said Mike Lanman, Verizon Wireless chief marketing officer. “The new flat rate voice plans truly free customers from the worry of counting minutes, while the new data plan options allow more customers to experience the freedom of mobile broadband. These enhancements are also an acknowledgement that wireless has evolved and more people than ever depend on it as a primary means of communication in every aspect of their lives.”

BroadbandAccess, the company’s flagship data service, allows customers to experience average download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1.4 megabits per second and average upload speeds of 500-800 kbps, which means customers can download a 1 MB e-mail attachment in about eight seconds and upload the same-sized file in less than 13 seconds. Customers will be able to take full advantage of these speeds with two options: 50 MB data usage for $39.99 monthly access or 5 GB data usage for $59.99 monthly access.

“These new flat rate plans make mobile broadband more affordable than ever,” said Lanman. “The $39.99 plan is perfect for the occasional or light data user, while the $59.99 plan meets the needs of the majority of heavy data users. The plans are easy to understand and give customers the technology they need to manage their lives – both business and personal.”

Verizon Wireless can make this industry leading move because it has invested nearly $44 billion since it was formed – $5.5 billion on average every year – to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services. The company was also the first to offer customers a guarantee that pays for equipment and service if customers are not satisfied within 30 days and want to move their service to a different carrier.

“Wireless service is a powerful tool that has vastly changed the way we live. Verizon Wireless decided to take the next step by evolving our plans to meet the needs of customers who depend on our service to stay connected. We have enhanced our pricing portfolio because some customers just needed more freedom for their wireless dollar,” Lanman added.

Here’s AT&T’s press release:

AT&T to Launch Unlimited U.S. Calling Plan

$99.99 Plan Available Feb. 22 for New and Existing Customers

San Antonio, Texas, February 19, 2008

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announced today new unlimited voice plans targeted to wireless users who want the predictability of flat rate pricing for unlimited minutes. The plans will be available to new and existing wireless subscribers for $99.99 a month for unlimited U.S. calling on all devices with no domestic roaming or long distance charges. The plans can be combined with any current wireless data plan to give customers the ultimate in wireless freedom.

The new plans, available Feb. 22, can be ordered at one of AT&T’s 2,200 company-owned retail stores and kiosks, at www.att.com, or at one of the thousands of authorized AT&T retail locations. Existing customers can choose unlimited calling without extending their contract. New customers have the option of a month-to-month, 12 or 24 month contract.

As with other voice calling plans, AT&T customers can choose from a variety of MEdia Net and messaging plans to meet their needs. For example, customers with standard wireless phones* can choose a data plan such as $5 for 200 text, picture, video and instant messages or $35 for unlimited messaging and MEdia Net access.

“We are pleased to offer our customers these great new plans that deliver value and simplified pricing,” said Ralph de la Vega, president & CEO, AT&T Mobility. “This is a highly competitive market and we’re committed to moving fast to meet customer needs.”

AT&T customers benefit from the nation’s largest digital voice and data network, with 3G broadband available in more than 260 major metropolitan markets. The company recently announced plans to expand its 3G network to 350 markets, including all of the top 100.

*Standard wireless phones do not include smartphones or PDAs or the iPhone.


Starbucks to Serve New Wifi Beans

AT&T will apparently displace T-Mobile as Starbuck’s WiFi provider of choice.

It’s interesting to note that AT&T will give its broadband and U-Verse customers free access at any WiFi-equipped Starbucks, but that’s apparently not true for AT&T’s wireless customers.

AT&T will also provide a flat rate access to its business class customer as part of the deal, and Starbuck’s 100,000 “Partners” (huh?) will get free access at company-owned stores.

Starbucks gets what appears to be an AT&T-managed network to the stores.  This will, no doubt, make POS transaction and ordering information immediately available to Seattle HQ.

AT&T’s Press Release:

More Than 12 Million AT&T, Starbucks Customers to Get Free Wi-Fi Access for a Rich In-Store Experience

New Offering Includes Two Hours of Free Wi-Fi Service Per Day for Starbucks Card Holders Beginning this Spring

All 100,000 U.S.-Based Starbucks Partners to Receive Free Wi-Fi at Starbucks Stores

Seattle, Washington, San Antonio, Texas, February 11, 2008

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) today announced plans to deliver AT&T Wi-FiSM service at more than 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations across the United States. The initiative brings together two of the most recognizable global brands to create a powerful and convenient online experience for consumers and business customers. Starbucks and AT&T will offer a mix of free and paid Wi-Fi offerings at Starbucks stores to meet the needs of both frequent and occasional Starbucks Wi-Fi customers.

The initiative further expands the AT&T Wi-Fi network, already the largest in the United States, to more than 17,000 U.S. hot spots and more than 70,000 globally.

Beginning this spring, Starbucks Card holders can enjoy up to two hours of free Wi-Fi service per day at Starbucks locations offering Wi-Fi access, while more than 12 million qualifying AT&T broadband and AT&T U-verseSM Internet customers will have unlimited free access to the Wi-Fi service. In addition, more than 5 million of AT&T’s remote access services business customers will be able to access Wi-Fi service at Starbucks locations. AT&T will soon extend the benefits of Wi-Fi at Starbucks to its wireless customers.

“People want to stay connected to their world 24/7, and Wi-Fi hot spots, broadband and wireless make that mobility possible,” said Rick Welday, AT&T chief marketing officer, Consumer. “Laptops and smartphones give us the online mobility we crave, and now millions of AT&T and Starbucks customers will get Internet access free from the comfort of their neighborhood Starbucks.”

“This is what our customers have been waiting for — free Starbucks-quality Wi-Fi,” said Chris Bruzzo, chief technology officer, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Through our new partnership with AT&T, we also welcome their millions of current customers who can now come in and enjoy free Wi-Fi as part of their daily Starbucks Experience.”

As an added benefit for the more than 100,000 Starbucks partners in the U.S., all Starbucks partners will receive free AT&T Wi-Fi accounts allowing them to use the network in Starbucks company-operated locations offering Wi-Fi access.

“Our new relationship with AT&T gives us the opportunity to expand and enhance the range of digital entertainment experiences for our customers as well as our partners, including the continued rollout of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks,” said Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment.

In addition to the free Wi-Fi access for qualifying AT&T customers and any Starbucks Card holder, customers will be able to purchase tiered access to the AT&T Wi-Fi network at Starbucks at attractive price points. For a two-hour period, customers will pay just $3.99 per session. Monthly membership will also be available for $19.99 per month, and will include access to any of AT&T’s 70,000 hot spots in 89 countries around the world.

AT&T business customers who subscribe to remote access services can also enjoy unlimited, flat-rate access plans at any Starbucks location offering Wi-Fi service or at other AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots.

Additionally, AT&T is providing Starbucks an enterprise-class network with increased bandwidth and redundancy. AT&T’s underlying network technologies will enable a wide range of business applications and help Starbucks stores operate more efficiently.

“Delivering networking capabilities to help a world-class company such as Starbucks achieve greater business velocity is what we do,” said Welday. “Our work with Starbucks is collaborative innovation at its finest.”

The availability of AT&T Wi-Fi service at Starbucks will take place on a market-by-market basis with store implementation beginning this spring and completed by the end of the year.



Omnipoint v. Nashua, NH: Partial Goverment Victory

In a ruling in the case of OMNIPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. V. CITY OF NASHUA and CITY OF NASHUA ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT (Case No. 1-07-cv-00046PB, before Hon. Paul Barbadoro of the US District Court in the District of New Hampshire), the City has won it’s summary judgment motion.

From the Judge’s decision:

“Omnipoint Communications, Inc. (“Omnipoint”) alleges in this ction that the Nashua Zoning Board of Adjustment (“ZBA”) mproperly denied Omnipoint’s application for a special exception o construct a wireless telecommunications tower on property ocated within a 220-home residential development known as Coburn Woods. Omnipoint’s complaint consists of three counts. Count I s a conventional appeal from a decision of the ZBA brought ursuant to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 677:4. Omnipoint claims in Count II that the ZBA’s decision violates the Telecommunications Act of 1996 because the decision is not supported by suubstantial evidence. See 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(iii). It argues in Count III that the decision violates the Telecommunications Act because it effectively prohibits the provision of personal wireless services to the area that would be served by the proposed tower. See 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(i)(II). The parties have submitted cross motions for summary judgment with respect to Counts I and II. For the reasons that follow, I grant the ZBA’s motion for summary judgment and deny Omnipoint’s cross motion for summary judgment. “

Case related documents:

Omnipoint’s Complaint
City’s Answer