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#TBT: Day passes for wireless web; AT&T’s Whitacre retires; unlimited SMS catches on … this week in 2007

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!

Alltel offers up a “day pass” for the wireless web

Alltel Corp. announced it will offer a new “Day Pass” service for wireless Web browsing. For $1.50, Alltel customers will be able to buy a 24-hour pass to Alltel’s Axcess wireless Web service. “Alltel continues to offer services that allow customers to easily integrate mobile content into their daily lives,” said Wade McGill, senior VP of product management for Alltel. “The introduction of the Day Pass option is another example of Alltel’s commitment to give our customers the ability to control and customize their wireless experience.” Alltel said the service works through technology from partner Motricity. Typically, carriers charge a per-kilobyte or per-minute fee to those users who access the wireless Web without a data access plan. … Read more

Napster and NTT DoCoMo team up on full-track mobile music

Napster L.L.C. said it will team with Tower Records Japan on its first over-the-air, full-track mobile music service. NTT DoCoMo Inc. will be the first operator to market the mobile service, which will expand the Napster To Go offering beyond sideloading into on-the-go downloads. The service will be available free to Napster To Go subscribers, and over-the-air downloads will be bookmarked and added to users’ PC collections, integrating the two platforms. “Launching our music subscription product on a wireless platform is a landmark for Napster and we are honored to be delivering this cutting-edge innovation with DoCoMo, one of the world’s largest and most innovative wireless carriers,” said Napster CEO Chris Gorog. … Read more

Whitacre retires from AT&T; Stephenson up to bat

Ed Whitacre announced that he will retire as CEO and chairman of the board at AT&T Inc. effective June 3. The 65-year-old is the longest-serving CEO in the telecommunications industry, having served as chairman and CEO of Southwestern Bell since 1990. When he took the reins 17 years ago Southwestern Bell was the smallest of the Baby Bells, but Whitacre helped steer the company into the most recent reincarnation of AT&T, now the world’s largest communications company. AT&T’s COO Randall Stephenson has been named Whitacre’s successor. “I have had the extraordinary privilege to lead this company for 17 years, and I leave with complete confidence in the future of our great company,” Whitacre said. “Randall Stephenson is an exceptional leader. He has a deep understanding of this business and a clear sense of where it should go.” … Read more

Helio drags down Earthlink’s earnings

Internet service provider Earthlink Inc. announced a net loss of $30 million for the first quarter of 2007, including a $29.3 million loss on its mobile virtual network operator endeavor Helio L.L.C. The company reported a net income of $16.4 million in the same period a year ago. Helio, which is a joint venture between Earthlink and Korean telecom giant SK Telecom, reiterated its previous projection of surpassing 100,000 subscribers during the second quarter of 2007 as it generated $30.4 million in revenue during the last quarter. The MVNO’s revenue for all of 2006 was $46.6 million. Helio reported a net loss of $63.1 million during the quarter, of which Earthlink experienced a $29.3 million loss based on its proportionate share of the MVNO. Earthlink carried a loss of $35.7 million on Helio during the fourth quarter of 2006. Earthlink also made a $13.5 million capital contribution to Helio during the quarter. … Read more

BlackBerry takes on the World

Research In Motion Ltd. announced a “World Edition” BlackBerry for international travelers that combines CDMA and GSM technology and will be sold by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. The two-carrier deal covers the two CDMA operators in the United States, an arrangement that may reflect RIM’s clout as purveyor of a sought-after device, and plays off the two carriers’ competitive pursuit of market leader AT&T Inc./Cingular. The new BlackBerry 8830 follows on the heels of a GSM BlackBerry (model 8800) already sold at AT&T’s wireless division that works on European and other international GSM frequencies. The new CDMA/GSM device will offer voice services in most countries around the world and a new “always on” e-mail service in about 60 countries. … Read more

AT&T adds unlimited SMS plans

As has become commonplace between the nation’s two largest wireless providers, AT&T Inc. has followed its smaller rival Verizon Wireless in unveiling unlimited text messaging plans for its wireless service. 
The AT&T offer, dubbed Messaging Unlimited, provides customers with unlimited text, picture, video and instant messages to any wireless phone in the United States for $20 per month. AT&T previously capped its messaging offers at 3,000 messages per month. AT&T is also offering an unlimited in-network messaging add-on to its traditional 200 message kit for an additional $5 per month, bringing the package total to $10 per month. AT&T also boosted the messaging capabilities of some of its bundled data packages. The carrier’s $15 MEdia Works package received an additional 500 messages, bringing its total to 1,500 messages plus 5 megabytes of data transmission, while the MEdia Max package grows from 3,000 messages to unlimited text messaging with unlimited data for $40 per month. … Read more

OnStar subs can send driving directions to their cars

DETROIT-OnStar subscribers will be able to send driving directions to their vehicles under a new partnership between General Motors’ telematics service and the MapQuest Web site. The navigation program, called OnStar Web Destination Entry, is scheduled to begin this summer. It will allow customers to use MapQuest to plan driving routes and send the directions to OnStar’s turn-by-turn navigation system. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. “This technology allows drivers to plan for their destination ahead of time,” OnStar President Chet Huber said at a press event here Tuesday. “Two clicks-it’s that simple,” he said. Huber said he expected the program’s rollout to be complete by year end. It will be available on GM models equipped with the OnStar turn-by-turn system. That includes more than 2 million vehicles this year and another 3 million in 2008, OnStar says. … Read more

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

ABOUT AUTHOR

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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