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#TBT: Sprint strong but cautious; job market on the rocks … this week in 2001

Sprint posted strong Q1 results, but said it remains cautious on future growth, while job cuts across telecom space cause concern … 15 years ago this week

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Sprint PCS expresses near term caution despite strong 1Q numbers
Sprint PCS added 826,000 net customer additions for the first quarter ended March 31, topping analysts estimates of 800,000 net additions. The carrier said its business customer base jumped 73 percent fueled by its Sprint PCS Wireless Web for Business offering. Net operating revenue for the wireless carrier increased 68 percent to $2.05 billion from $1.22 billion reported for the first quarter of 2000. Average revenue per user increased from $57 last year to $60 this year, in-line with estimates, while the cost of customer acquisition dropped 8 percent to $360 per customer, below estimates of $371 per customer. Customer churn also fell from 2.8 percent for the fourth quarter of 2000, to 2.5 percent for the first quarter of 2001. … Read More

Will work in wireless: Supply outstrips demand in tight job market
108,159. It’s quite a large number. It’s also the sum of a brief scan through RCR Wireless News headlines from the past few months, headlines detailing job cuts carried out by some of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. It is by no means a total and complete tally of unemployed workers in the wireless industry-that number could be as high as 500,000-but it makes one thing clear: The job market is not good. … Read More

DoCoMo delays 3G launch to fall: Move praised, questioned by industry
The future of third-generation networks took a hit last week following NTT DoCoMo’s announcement that it was suspending the introduction of its highly touted 3G network in Japan from May until October. Japan’s largest wireless operator, which many in the industry look to as the benchmark for wireless data services, said it needed the additional time to test the stability of the network. “The full-scale commercialization of NTT DoCoMo’s 3G services, branded FOMA [Freedom Of mobile Multimedia Access], is now scheduled for Oct. 1, 2001,” the company said in a press release. The carrier noted it planned to launch an “introductory service” to a limited number of subscribers beginning in late May to test the reliability and usability of the network. … Read More

Expert says PDAs, BlackBerry devices are potential security risks
Personal digital assistants and two-way pagers can be security hazards since they lack necessary protections or are built in with risky, albeit convenient, default software, said a leading researcher at a wireless security conference last week. “You can’t think of these devices as toys or devices. They have become an integral component of the workstation and they have the same risks to your company as the desktop. … You have to think about these issues and be paranoid about them,” said John E. Girard, vice president & research director of the Gartner Network Research Center. … Read More

Verizon again asks FCC to delay C-block licenses
Verizon Wireless last week reiterated its request that the Federal Communications Commission delay its award of personal communications services licenses until an appeal by bankrupt NextWave Telecom Inc. is settled. “Money paid to the government and held for possible return represents funding capacity that could be used for other purposes such as network expansion, increased services to customers, or other purposes. Instead of using the money for these beneficial and pro-competitive ends, high bidders would be forced to pass on those opportunities to pay the money to the government. Once foregone, business opportunities are often irretrievable,” said John T. Scott III, Verizon vice president and deputy general counsel for regulatory law. … Read More

Portals to be centerpiece of wireless Internet experience
Wireless portals will be a major part of the mobile Internet of the future, according to a new study from Allied Business Intelligence, and could become the centerpiece of many users’ mobile experience. According to the report, “Wireless Portals: the Information Gateway to the Wireless User,” wireless portals will attract about 136.9 million users by the end of the year. That number, however, could jump to more than 1 billion by 2006. The growth of portal popularity will likely be based on a number of technologies already discussed at length within the wireless industry. Location-based services, wireless advertising, mobile commerce and other such hot topics will play a part in the uptake of the wireless Internet. … Read More

Rural carriers excited about 3G
With company names based more on family names or regions of the country instead of original creations brewed up by marketing experts, members of the Rural Cellular Association last week held their Ninth Annual Convention and Exhibition in the city of excess, Las Vegas. After a roaring keynote address by renowned college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, most of the participants launched into the show’s general sessions concerning next-generation services, customer service strategies, the financial impact of business alliances and wireless safety issues. … Read More

Clearwire, ITFS Alliance gain funding
Clearwire Technologies Inc. and the Instructional Television Fixed Service Spectrum Development Alliance are teaming to deliver wireless broadband services to educational, nonprofit and commercial customers, with a $97 million commitment from Goldman Sachs & Co. and Liberty Associated Partners L.P. The partnership will give Clearwire access to licensed spectrum in the 2.5 GHz-2.7 GHz Instructional Television Fixed Service frequency band originally set aside by the Federal Communications Commission for one-way educational programming, and provide the ITFS Alliance, which is comprised of seven licensees, with technologically advanced two-way digital services. … Read More

Winstar bankruptcy, lawsuit detail ugly side of vendor financing
Shortly following Winstar Communications Inc.’s announcement last Monday that it had failed to make aggregate interest payments of approximately $75 million on loans, the local multipoint distribution service carrier voluntarily filed for bankruptcy, and then in a surprise move, filed a $10 billion lawsuit against Lucent Technologies Inc. for breach of obligations under a five-year supply agreement. The claim was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Winstar claims Lucent’s breach is what caused the company to seek bankruptcy protection. In addition to the $10 billion in damages, Winstar is seeking immediate injunctive relief from Lucent, including the payment of more than $90 million, which Lucent was supposed to pay to Winstar on March 30. … Read More

Voice as a commodity
Voice services are a tricky subject for wireless operators. While voice is regarded as the one true killer application for wireless carriers, many are forced to nearly give away voice service to keep up with the ultra-competitive wireless market. While carriers try to differentiate their voice service from the competition, consumers have started basing their buying habits first and foremost on price. A recent Yankee Group report showed 62 percent of wireless customers surveyed said reduced service prices would promote their loyalty to a carrier. Improved sound quality picked up only 18 percent of the vote. … Read More

Check out RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

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