The Public Utilities Commission in California will investigate AT&T’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The Golden state is one of three states that Sprint has asked to investigate the deal — the other two are West Virginia and Louisiana. “We believe a thorough investigation will reveal the negative implications for pricing, choice, and innovation critical to California’s economy,” Sprint’s public affairs manager, John Taylor, said. “Sprint is pleased that the commission will open up a proceeding to investigate the proposed takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T.” AT&T originally filed its informal notice with California’s Public Utilities Commission on May 3rd, and Sprint protested the filing on May 19th when it asked for a review of the merger. The regulators will consider three options, one of which is a choice to notify AT&T that its purchase is not “pre-approved” after the standard 30-day time period after an application is submitted. Sprint has opposed the acquisition from day one, and its CEO Dan Hesse said the deal would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. More →
There have been rumors floating around the internet about Verizon Wireless offering a second, “tiered” data plan, and that rumor was confirmed today. America’s largest wireless provider will begin offering a $15 monthly data plan to 3G smartphone users that offers 150MB data allowance. The carrier will bill overages at $15 per 150MB and the $30, unlimited data plan will remain unchanged.
Also hot off the rumor wagon, Engadget is reporting that Verizon is testing calling plans with unlimited, any-mobile-to-mobile minutes — a la Sprint — in select markets across Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The plans range from $60 all the way up to $130 — offering between 450 and 2000 minutes — and include unlimited text messaging. The unlimited mobile-to-mobile offerings are available until the end of 2010 at which point, we assume, Verizon will either expand or cancel the plans depending on demand. More →
Verizon is offering a very interesting new cellular plan “for eligible consumers in select Texas and Louisiana markets” coined “Unlimited Any Mobile plans.” The press release reads:
Eligible consumers may sign up for a single line Nationwide Unlimited Talk plan that allows the customer to call and send text, picture and video messages to anyone in the United States regardless of service provider for $59.99-$79.99 monthly access. Nationwide Family SharePlans will also have the new Unlimited Any Mobile plan options for $99.99-$129.99 monthly access.
Current customers are eligible to move to the new plan without penalty and without having to renew their contract. The five plans available look like this:
Single Line Plans:
- 450 minutes for $59.99
- 900 minutes for $79.99
- 700 minutes for $99.99
- 1400 minutes for $119.99
- 2000 minutes for $129.99
You qualify for one of the new plan if you have a phone number with the 210, 214, 254, 318, 325, 361, 430, 432, 439, 469, 512, 682, 806, 817, 830, 903, 915, 940, 956 or 972 area code. A Verizon spokesperson would only say that the offerings “are promotional plans specific to some customers.” Here’s to hoping that the unlimited mobile calling plans are wildly successful and propagate throughout the country. Would anyone else like to see these plans expanded beyond Texas and the Bayou? More →
While AT&T’s is beginning the transition of its newly-acquired Verizon Wireless assets, the acquisition of AT&T-divested Centennial Wireless by Verizon Wireless has stalled in the middle of the regulatory process. Verizon Wireless has been granted two time extensions to give the wireless carrier additional time to respond to the FCC’s questions, and the FCC has issued a second protective order to keep much of the proceedings confidential. An objection issued by Cellular South is also still active and under consideration by the FCC. With all of this bureaucratic red tape still in the way, this transition is proceeding very, very slowly and most likely wont be initiated until 2011. Folks in those five markets within Louisiana and Mississippi that are affected by this merger will become well acquainted with the phrase, “be patient, just wait”. More →
Reallyz. T-Mobile has taken a lot of preemptive measures to try and ensure that their network will be able to withstand the almighty power that be Gustav. Here’s a recap of what T-Mobile is planning on doing, and what they’ve done:
- Mobilized all necessary resources to restore service to its customers and emergency first-responders if its cell sites are affected by the storm.
- The T-Mobile Incident Command Team stands ready at the Birmingham Command Center and at locations throughout the Southeast and in Texas to mobilize teams of technicians and engineers as soon as post-hurricane conditions permit.
- In the event of widespread power outages, T-Mobile has thousands of gallons of fuel accessible and ready-to-roll into the affected areas to power cell site generators and company repair/transport vehicles, and for other emergency circumstances.
- To help protect its core network, T-Mobile is fortifying its network switch operations serving the Gulf Coast – including its switch in the New Orleans market, which remained operational through Hurricane Katrina, as well as in Mobile, Ala.
- T-Mobile has several Cells-On-Wheels (COWs) pre-staged in neighboring markets to move in and provide additional wireless communications capacity in the hardest-hit areas.
- T-Mobile will monitor evacuation efforts and routes, and will take steps to increase wireless capacity in those areas as customers move inland.
All in all, awesome steps to increase the chances of folks making phone calls in an emergency situation. Due to the mass exodus of people that fled Louisiana though, we’re not sure things like adding wireless capacity will help. Also remember people, don’t rape the network! Text, don’t call unless absolutely necessary! Stay safe.