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Time Trippin’: $500 iPhone!?!; WiMAX aims high … 6 years ago this week

Editor’s Note: The RCR Wireless News Time Machine is a way to take advantage of our extensive history in covering the wireless space to fire up the DeLorean and take a trip back in time to re-visit some of the more interesting headlines from this week in history. Enjoy the ride!

‘Power Pack’ plans align Sprint Nextel with larger rivals: Big 3 now only differ on extras, handsets
Three of the national U.S. carriers are no longer differentiating on price points for service plans, instead relying on the details of the plans and add-on services to appeal to customers-along with handsets, of course. Sprint Nextel Corp., Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless L.L.C. now offer the same number of anytime minutes available for the same price. The alignment was completed last week when Sprint Nextel replaced its “Fair & Flexible” plans with its new “Power Pack” plans, which line up at least phonetically with its “Power Up” ad campaign. … Read More

Mobile gaming goes truly mobile
While most mobile-game makers are targeting mass-market users with casual one-button offerings, boutique developer Your World Games Ltd. is hoping to find an audience with a line of sophisticated, location-aware games. The Orlando, Fla.-based startup is putting the finishing touches on its initial offering, a GPS-enabled, multiplayer title starring Taro, a young farmer who collects items and trades for goods as he fights to defend his land from demons. Dubbed The Shroud, the role-playing offering-which is slated to hit carrier decks “in coming months”-will allow players with GPS-enabled phones to enter “quests” by physically moving into randomly determined hotspots nearby. … Read More

Moto and Sony Ericsson: A tale of two vendors
The mobile handset business plays out in a dynamic and sometimes cruel landscape. Opportunities abound, yet conditions can be harsh. Giants may rule, or be humbled by ambition and prevailing winds. Nimble competitors with practical prowess can seize the day. A bewildering array of factors makes predictions precarious. Hence the stage for fourth-quarter and full-year financial results last week for Motorola Inc. and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications L.P.-two very different beasts with widely disparate results. Both open a window onto the handset landscape. … Read More

The ‘TV key’: one click to the tube: It’s all about simplicity and revenue generation
It’s obvious, it’s not new and it’s at the forefront of the latest major, consumer-oriented innovation.
Phone keys dedicated to a single functionality, such as mobile TV, may see increased use in the near-term to ensure that consumers have a simple, unambiguous path to the latest entertainment to reach the handset. The dedicated key also reflects the degree to which handset vendors often work to please their carrier clients, in part to provide simple access to revenue-generating services, which at least one analyst said flatly lies at the heart of carriers’ formulae for handset subsidies. … Read More

Skeptics be damned: WiMAX supporters shoot for the stars
The potential for mobile WiMAX is as big as the Internet itself, if you trust the true believers gathered last week in San Jose, Calif., for the Wireless Communications Alliance International’s 13th annual symposium. Mobile WiMAX technology will create a new category of users, ushering in the personal mobile Internet, according to Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Corp.’s senior VP and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group. The talk is bold, fearless even, despite the skeptics who question whether mobile WiMAX will even work, let alone work four times faster than 3G cellular at one-tenth of the cost. … Read More

RFID remains wildcard
The business opportunities enabled by WiMAX and other broadband wireless technologies are as abundant as those being touted for the mobile-minded consumer. After all, it promises nothing short of increased productivity-hence increased profits-and upward mobility in the marketplace. Businesses are pushing increased productivity as their No. 1 priority, much like the emphasis that was placed on cutting costs two to three years ago, Ebrahim Keshavarz, vice president of new services development at AT&T Inc., said at the Wireless Communications Association International Symposium and Business Expo in San Jose, Calif., last week. … Read More

New York City 911 call centers to solicit cameraphone photos
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a plan to create millions of cellphone-carrying citizen crime fighters. In his state of the city address, Bloomberg said he wants to empower more New Yorkers in combating crime. “This year, we’ll begin a revolutionary innovation in crime-fighting: Equipping 911 call centers to receive digital images and videos New Yorkers sent from cellphones and computers is something no other city in the world is doing,” Bloomberg stated. “If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition, you’ll be able to transmit images to 911, or online to And we’ll start extending the same technology to 311 to allow New Yorkers to step forward and document non-emergency, quality-of-life concerns, holding city agencies accountable for correcting them quickly and efficiently.” … Read More

With profits down, Motorola to cut 3,500 jobs
Buffeted in its attempt to both lead in design and chase market share, Motorola Inc. announced it will cut five percent of its workforce to reduce overhead. But the company said it does not plan to change its basic strategy. Wall Street appeared to keep faith with the wounded giant, as the company’s stock ticked upward after the news. Motorola’s mixed results for the fourth quarter and full year 2006-handset unit volumes, market share and revenue were up solidly, but net earnings, average selling prices and operating margins suffered-reflected both company-specific issues and handset-market conditions. … Read More

Study: Cingular brand more popular than AT&T
AT&T Inc. could have a tough time transferring the positive associations of the Cingular Wireless L.L.C. brand to the veteran AT&T brand, according to new research from the Keller Fay Group, which specializes in tracking and analyzing word-of-mouth marketing. According to Keller Fay’s measurement program for word-of-mouth marketing, Cingular has nearly four times more positive talk about it than AT&T. … Read More

ISuppli: $500 iPhone will cost $246 to make
ISuppli Corp has concluded-without performing a physical teardown-that Apple Inc.’s iPhone can generate 50 percent gross margins, based on a preliminary estimate of the device’s bill of materials (BoM). The market upshot? Such a large margin ensures healthy profits per device for Apple and Cingular Wireless, which will launch the device in June, as well as providing room for future price cuts, should Apple or Cingular decide to use descending prices to broaden the base of potential customers, according to iSuppli. … Read More


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