Happy April to all of our readers! This month, we have an excellent variety of news to offer you including mergers, new product launches, and even some good news for loyal wireless customers. There are also a few sad bits of news due to, once again, the sagging economy but we all have to keep in mind that eventually there will come an economic spring time. Enjoy your Newswatch this month and thank you, as always, for reading Pipeline.
Wireless carriers are finally starting to reward their loyal customers rather than just trying to attract new ones while leaving the old ones to drool over new promotions. T-Mobile recently rolled out a promotion that gives customers who have a 22 month history with the company the chance to have an unlimited calling plan for $49.99 per month. They’re also offering a $135 bill credit to loyal customers who add a new non-T-Mobile customer to their existing account. Sprint also began rewarding loyal customers in early February, though their plan was a bit different. The company is offering early upgrades, tickets to shows and sporting events, anniversary rewards, discounts on accessories and various other perks. What do
Sprint customers have to do to be eligible for such treats? Customers who have spent at least $69.99 per month on an individual plan or $99.99 per month on a shared plan for three consecutive months can take advantage of the benefits. Otherwise, one must have been a Sprint customer for ten years. There’s quite a wide gap between 3 months and 10 years, but Sprint, as everyone knows, is desperate to hang onto its remaining customers. (Frankly, if they have a group of customers that’s held on for ten years, I think they should be handing out far larger gifts than just free ringtones.)
Speaking of leaving current customers drooling over promotions, Amazon.com is now
Wireless carriers are finally starting to reward their loyal customers rather than just trying to attract new ones.
selling the T-Mobile G1 Android phone for just $97.99 to new customers who sign a T-Mobile contract. Those of us current customers who paid nigh $180 when it was new only 6 months ago may be left feeling a little sad, although not as sad as the original iPhone customers may have felt when the prices dropped several hundred dollars shortly after their release. The recent price drops for various types of smartphones are making them accessible to more customers, thereby giving service providers more revenue from upgraded data packages and taking more business away from the basic handset.
Google’s Grand Central has now officially become Google Voice, a service that allows users to customize their phone services into one number that will ring various phones depending on who is calling, block calls, customize ring tones, greetings, and more. The switch will also be accompanied by the addition of new features, including SMS, among other things, and will begin accepting new customers soon. Until now, Grand Central was only accessible via invitation and after awhile, stopped accepting any new customers for the free service. Google Voice gives Google an edge in the telecom world, allowing customers of other carriers, both wireless and landline, to merge their services into one Google number, while giving customers options for call management that they do not have through their regular carrier. This is a venture that may turn out to be quite profitable for Google in the long run, and is another step forward in Google’s plans to enter the wireless arena. With the ability to offer these types of services already in place, who’s to say Google might not even look into offering their very own voice services, complete with Android-based handsets, in the future?
In the world of litigation, Sprint Nextel Corp. has been served with a class-action lawsuit from shareholders who feel that the company misrepresented its information regarding its merger with Nextel in order to keep stock