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#TBT: TIM invests $2B in Cable & Wireless; Motorola launches ‘Wings’; Ericsson sponsors Celine Dion … this week in 1998

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!

Oooo, 1900 MHz Nokia phones with ten ring tones and SMS
In news briefs for the week, Nokia Mobile Phones signed a contract with Sprint Spectrum L.P. for personal communications services handsets. Nokia said it will begin delivering the 1900 MHz handsets, the Nokia 2170, this month. The handset supports all new digital features, including short message service … Read more.

Celine Dion’s 1998 tour (and her heart) will go on … with a little help from Ericsson
Ericsson Inc. Mobile Phones and Terminals announced it will be the exclusive presenting sponsor of Grammy Award-winning singer Celine Dion for her 1998-1999 North American concert tour, “Lets Talk About Love.” Celine Dion sings “My Heart Will Go On,” this year’s Academy Award-winning song from the movie “Titanic.” Last year, Dion’s “Falling into You” album won two Grammy Awards. “The power of communications is my life, so I am very excited about this tour and my association with Ericsson,” Dion said at a press conference. “All my life, it has been so important to be surrounded by the right people with the right stuff. I feel wonderful to be surrounded by Ericsson.” In conjunction with her tour, Dion will appear in a new Ericsson Inc. broadcast advertising campaign, which Ericsson also will incorporate into promotional, point-of-purchase and other marketing activities. … Read more (Meanwhile, Western Wireless chose Jamie Lee Curtis as the celebrity face of its VoiceStream brand. This week in 1998 was a big one for celebs and telecom. … Read more)

Telecom Italia hooks up with Cable & Wireless, still has a side thing with AT&T
Signaling the beginning of a global partnership, Telecom Italia said it will pay $2 billion for minority interests in Cable & Wireless plc’s international businesses. “I am pleased to welcome Telecom Italia as our global partner in building scale in our international operations,” said Richard Brown, chief executive of Cable & Wireless. “Telecom Italia is our anchor partner in continental Europe, expanding from our base of Cable & Wireless Communications in the U.K. This also brings us important access to Latin America.” The announcement may be a setback for AT&T Corp., which last July signed a memorandum of understanding with Telecom Italia to form a global strategic alliance to serve international telecommunications customers, with a primary focus on Latin America and European regions, where AT&T has been trying to increase its presence. Telecom Italia’s agreement with Cable & Wireless essentially covers Latin America and Europe. Telecom Italia said talks are still on with AT&T, but terms of the MOU will be changed. AT&T declined to comment. “We made an alliance in July with AT&T, but now we must change the alliance agreement,” said a Telecom Italia spokesman. “AT&T will be an alliance to work together in specific areas.” … Read more

Motorola wants to give consumers “Wings” with a $100 million global branding effort
Embracing a nickname that employees have given its logo for years, Motorola Inc. launched a $100 million global branding campaign that unites all its business sectors’ consumer products under the moniker “Wings.” The effort marks the first time the company has employed an ad campaign that promotes a variety of products from different Motorola business sectors. Traditionally, each Motorola sector conducted its own advertising campaign. Instead, the Wings campaign touts Motorola pagers, mobile phones and two-way radios as being the wings that free consumers to do whatever they want, wherever they want. “People want the benefits of personal communications products that give them `Wings’-enabling them to be free from the confines of home or office, and giving them the ability to stay connected when and where they choose,” said Rick Darnaby, Motorola vice president and director of global brand management. “The idea that personal communication products enable the freedom to choose how you communicate with others is powerful. That’s why the Wings theme is relevant in a world where boundaries no longer strictly define our ability to communicate. Our Wings-our personal communication products-travel with us, are part of us, span time and space. No matter who you want to stay in touch with, Motorola brings you many different products to do it ingeniously, effortlessly and effectively.” … Read more

Editor’s note: Because everything lives on the Internet forever, you can check out one of the original Motorola Wings commercials below:


Colorado scraps a plan for a wireless-only area code

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission scrapped a plan that would have provided a new area code for wireless phones and pagers only. Citing legal and financial implications, the commission has instead opted to retain an original plan calling for an all-services overlay for area-code relief. The CPUC was looking into a wireless-overlay option despite a 1995 ruling from the Federal Communications Commission that prohibits states from implementing such plans because they discriminate against wireless carriers. The CPUC would have had to petition the FCC to waiver the rule, which officially went into place in 1996. … Read more

Increased competition means wireless advertising isn’t just for the holiday season any more
Wireless carrier advertising trends may have turned a corner during last year’s winter holiday season. Many industry experts believe carriers are beginning to spread their advertising dollars throughout the year, rather than devoting a huge chunk of the advertising budget to the holidays. Bruce Janklow, chief executive officer of TradeOne Marketing, a firm that studies newspaper advertising trends of cellular carriers, said the percentage of holiday advertising compared with the rest of the year was down slightly, from more than 33 percent in past years to about 29 percent last year. “The good news is the amount they spent on advertising during the holidays stayed the same,” said Janklow, who noted that spending on advertising throughout the year was up, which drove down the holiday proportion. “The amount of holiday advertising didn’t grow proportionately with the rest of the year.” Cellular carrier 3607 Communications Co. fit into Janklow’s assessment of the holiday advertising trend. The company said it spent about $62.3 million during the fourth quarter on sales, marketing and advertising expenses. That figure is about the same as sales, marketing and advertising expenses of $63 million for the fourth quarter of 1996. … “The holidays are not getting less important,” said Janklow. “Other events throughout the year are getting more important.” … Read more

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


Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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