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Worst of the Week: Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Valentine’s Day

Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!

And without further ado:

Two big events rocked the domestic wireless space this week as first Sprint announced mind-blowing fourth quarter results and then Verizon Wireless unveiled ground-shaking rate plan changes.

(Of course I jest on both counts.)

Sprint’s mind-blowing announcement was perhaps most surprising in that many didn’t think Sprint was even around anymore. ZING!

But seriously, Sprint reported Q4 results showing that not only is the carrier not dead, but it still might have a bit of life in those legs.

The “still alive” parts were that it managed to actually add customers to its network and reduce net losses to just $1 billion. Heck, if I only lost $1 billion over a three-month period, I would throw one heck of a party.

However, Sprint was quick to put a damper on the news, claiming that it will continue to experience higher-than-ideal churn rates and likely increased customer losses through at least the first half of this year. Well, it’s not like any of its rivals are making any aggressive marketing moves in order to cull customers from other operators.

So, go ahead Sprint. Take your time. Put all the pieces in place at a pace that is not too stressful. We can all wait. Sure, some may say that this whole “pardon our dust” phase has been already going on for quite some time and that perhaps you should have been better prepared for the situation. But, not me. I am all for slow walks on the beach, smelling the roses and day dreaming. What else is there to do on Valentine’s Day?

Now, about those sweet changes Verizon Wireless made to its rate plans this week. The changes resulted in what are now termed “More Everything” plans, though I am not so sure about the name. Are they really “more” of “everything?” I mean, there is more data in some of the data buckets, but there are no more minutes in the already unlimited calling plans or any more messages available in the unlimited messaging that was already available in its Share Everything plans. How about something like “More In Some Places, Not Any More In Others.” That sort of rolls off the tongue, no?

Regardless of the naming issues, the best part of the new plans is the lip service they show Verizon Wireless is giving to competing in the pricing war of its smaller rivals. The changes were so minor that it would appear the real reason for the announcement was to give Verizon Wireless a new marketing term to use in its advertisements. I mean, who can ignore when someone yells “more everything!” during a commercial?

Analysis of the new plans seemed to show that Verizon Wireless has gone from the most expensive consumer option for wireless services to … wait for it … the most expensive consumer option for wireless service. Nice.

I have no problem with Verizon Wireless sticking to its claims of network superiority thus they can charge more mantra. Heck, I am sort of jealous of that backbone and wish there was more of it across the wireless space. And, until Verizon Wireless is forced to make radical changes due to an actual impact on its bottom line, I suspect the carrier will stick to its guns.

And again, what is more romantic than playing with guns on Valentine’s Day?

OK, enough of that.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Worst of the Week column. And now for some extras:

–Following up on Marvel’s “The Avengers” movie, the wireless charging industry is bringing together two of the heavyweight trade associations to partner on destroying Loki and his quest to rule … I mean to partner on accelerating the growth of the wireless charging market.

The two organizations are awesomely called The Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Matters Alliance, and said they have signed an agreement aimed at “establishing global interoperability of these two leading wireless power standards.” Those standards would be the A4WP and PMA standards.

We can only hope the new partnership also results in a name change to The Alliance for Wireless Power Matters Alliance. Now, that’s an awesome name!

Anyways, the organizations said they will work on “harmonizing technical standards that deliver interoperability and streamline next-generation wireless charging.” Finally!

Better yet, the plan comes together with plenty of time to work on taking out Thanos in the next “The Avengers” flick.

–Regional wireless operator U.S. Cellular announced plans to partner with comedian Mark Malkoff for a “social experiment” where an “avid mobile phone” user will go one week without a mobile phone. That mobile phone user will be Malkoff, so I expect there will be some comedy involved.

Great publicity stunt for U.S. Cellular, even more so in that Malkoff will be conducting this life-altering experience in New York City, a market where U.S. Cellular does not provide native coverage and if Malkoff was actually using a U.S. Cellular device would be racking up some nice roaming charges for the carrier.

Give it a look.

I welcome your comments. Please send me an e-mail at [email protected].

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