Boost Touts Savings Over Rivals
By Andrew Berg
Boost Mobile is ratcheting up the prepaid wars, saying customers can save up to $695 a year by switching to its $50 unlimited monthly plan when compared with T-Mobile’s $99.99/month prepaid unlimited plan.
Boost goes further to say customers can save up to $42 a year compared to Cricket’s $45 unlimited regional plan and up to $144 per year compared with MetroPCS’ $45 per month unlimited nationwide plan.
Boost’s price comparisons are significant as competition heats up among no-contract carriers. Last week, it was widely reported that nationwide carrier T-Mobile USA is testing a $50 prepaid unlimited calling plan in San Francisco. T-Mobile added more prepaid customers in the fourth quarter than postpaid.
Meanwhile, Boost, a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel, continues to update its ad campaign entitled, “Unwronged,” aimed at attracting postpaid customers, but some wonder whether it will succeed in broadening the carrier’s customer base. The TV spots for the campaign depict situations that people would consider “wrong” and suggest the Boost Unlimited plan as a way for customer to get “unwronged.”
The new edgy TV spots are geared toward Boost’s usual youthful customer base and highlight the additional fees and taxes included on monthly postpaid bills. Boost’s $50 unlimited plan includes unlimited talk, text, Web and walkie-talkie services with no “hidden charges.”
The underlying message of “Unwronged” is that with Boost Mobile, consumers will not be subject to hidden fees, shoddy networks, credit checks, contracts or flimsy handsets, states the company’s Web site.
While the new ads are aggressive and might signal Sprint’s renewed emphasis on its prepaid division, the spots look very different than your conventional postpaid ads. Walter Piecyk, analyst at Pali Research, wonders whether the ads will connect with a more diverse customer base. “The question is whether [Boost] will expand their marketing to a broader base in a way that may be inconsistent with the current brand?” he says.
Piecyk says that on the whole, the prepaid market looks strong and noted that he is interested to see how Boost manages its image as an increasing number of customers, young and old, seek better value and predictability in their monthly cell phone bills.
Mobile Video Big With Men
By Luke Simpson
Nielsen’s A2/M2 Three Screen Report for the fourth quarter of 2008 shows that males make up 63 percent of the mobile video market. The report also reveals that more people are watching video on their phones for longer periods of time.
The male-dominated mobile video audience can be attributed to the content, according to Roger Entner, head of Telecom Research at Nielsen. “General mobile data usage actually trends towards females, but mobile video content is driven by news and sports, which appeals to males.”
Women are slightly ahead of men for TV and Internet viewing.
The number of people watching video on their phones is up 9 percent for the quarter, with the amount of time spent watching mobile video up by 2 percent. Teenage users aged 13 to 17 spend over six-and-a-half hours per month watching video from their phones, nearly twice as much as any other group. While there are many more mobile video users in the 25 to 34 age demographic, the average viewing time per month is less than four hours.
The growth of mobile Web access and an increase in mobile content are contributing to the growth of the mobile video market, according to the Nielsen press release. A recent Nielsen Mobile Video Report revealed that NBC Universal more than doubled its share of the mobile video market during the first half of 2008 by increasing the availability of its content.
Credit Suisse Upgrades Motorola to ‘Neutral’
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Motorola got a rare vote of confidence today as Credit Suisse analysts upgraded the stock from “Underperform” to “Neutral,” saying they believe losses in the company’s long-ailing cell phone division have bottomed out.
Motorola shares rose 12 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $3.73 in premarket trading. In late November, the telecom equipment maker’s shares hit a multiyear low of $3.
Credit Suisse analysts headed by Kulbinder Garcha said that meetings with Motorola management last week gave them increased confidence in the mobile phone maker’s focus on cutting costs.
Motorola has said it is committed to turning around the cell phone business, but the analysts noted that if the company decides to shut it down, that would only cost about $2.7 billion. Meanwhile, the division reduces the company’s market capitalization by about $4 billion at Motorola’s current stock price.
For the fourth quarter, Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola posted a loss of $3.6 billion, or $1.57 per share, largely due to a writedown of the value of the cell phone division.
Motorola’s other two divisions, which make devices like cable set-top boxes and police radios, are doing relatively well, and make up two-thirds of sales.
The analysts still expect Motorola’s share of the global cell phone market to decline, to about 4 percent in the third quarter from 6.5 percent in last year’s fourth quarter.
Survey Finds Big Spenders for Apps
By Wireless Week Staff
A survey of 235 U.S. smartphone users who installed applications on their devices in 2008 reveals that 16.5% spent between $100 and $499, according to ABI Research. The survey was conducted in November.
That level of spending is especially significant given the low cost of most mobile applications, ranging from as little as a dollar or two at Apple’s iPhone App Store to at most about $25, ABI says.
Many developers, lacking the resources to author applications for all available smartphone platforms, have to focus on one, the firm points out. That means they have a “margin vs. volume” quandary: sell many copies for the iPhone at a very low price of which the developer receives 70 percent, or sell fewer via one of the other application storefronts, but charge a higher price and earn more per transaction.
The survey results come after Pinch Media last week shared analytics showing only about 20 percent of people who download a free iPhone application are still using it the next day. Paid applications see slightly more use soon after installation; games are used for longer periods of time than any other type of application, according to Pinch Media.
Samsung, Paramount Team Up for Alltel
By Wireless Week Staff
Samsung Telecommunications America and Paramount Digital Entertainment announced the availability of a 2G microSD card pre-loaded with the Mission Impossible Trilogy with the purchase of a Samsung Delve from Alltel Wireless.
This marks the first time that Samsung Mobile and Paramount Digital Entertainment have worked together to bundle full-length feature films(s) to mobile products without creating a price impact on carrier partners or consumers, the companies said.
“We are excited to bring an action-packed movie series like the Mission Impossible Trilogy to people who buy the Samsung Delve,” said Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer for Samsung Mobile, in a press release. “When you combine this incredible content with the Delve’s full set of powerful features, it’s easy to stay entertained and connected no matter where you are.”
The microSD card is available with the purchase of the Delve from Feb. 20 through April 16, from participating Alltel Wireless retail stores and authorized dealers.
Alltel Wireless customers who purchase the Delve can send in a mail-in redemption card to receive the microSD within four to six weeks.
Report: Yahoo CEO Prepares for Reorg
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Yahoo’s new chief executive, Carol Bartz, may announce a management restructuring as early as Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal, citing unidentified people, said in a report published on its Web site Saturday that a memo from Bartz suggested there would be a reorganization and that many top executives knew few details about it.
Bartz is likely to undo or scale back prior reorganizations by former CEO Jerry Yang, the paper said, citing the expectations of many.
The paper said, citing several sources, that former President Sue Decker’s chief of staff, Jeff McCombs, has already left Yahoo.
FirstNews Briefs for Feb. 23, 2009
Companies in the news: Verizon Wireless, Personal Communications Devices, CTIA, Spectrum Bridge, mSpot, Sony Music Entertainment, DubmeNow, Kyocera Wireless, Superior Communications, Telecom Italia, Scanbuy, Gameloft, Columbitech.
• Verizon Wireless unveiled the new Verizon Wireless CDM8975, available immediately through business sales channels. The phone, developed by Personal Communications Devices, joins Verizon Wireless’ line-up of push-to-talk (PTT) handsets. It comes in an industrial clamshell design.
• CTIA on Friday unveiled “Best Practices and Guidelines for Mobile Financial Services (MFS),” which were approved by leading U.S. wireless carriers. The voluntary initiative was developed to provide consumers with a level of safety and security for mobile banking, commerce and payments products and services, the organization says.
• Spectrum Bridge, creator of SpecEx, the online marketplace for spectrum, announced the launch of the new Web site, ShowMyWhiteSpace.com. Visitors to the site can use an online tool to find open TV channels available at any location in the United States. The site also seeks to educate consumer, business and government users on the applications and benefits of the new unlicensed broadband spectrum. Unused white space frequencies are scheduled to become available starting June 12.
• mSpot signed a distribution agreement with Sony Music Entertainment to add the company’s catalog to mSpot’s current collection, which now includes more than 400,000 song titles. The addition of Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog completes mSpot’s plan to offer customizable ringtones from all four major music labels including EMI, Universal Music and Warner Music. mSpot also offers customizable ringtones from indie labels Ingrooves and IRIS.
• DubMeNow, a patent-pending technology that allows end-users to instantly exchange (via text or e-mail) contact information (e-mail, phone, company, address, title and more) from mobile phone to mobile phone, is now available on all U.S. based phones. DUB loads contact data directly into the user’s mobile address book and automatically updates their address book whenever the contact’s information changes.
• Kyocera Wireless and Superior Communications announced that Kyocera has entered a partnership with Superior to manage the design, manufacturing and distribution of the company’s branded Genuine Accessories by Kyocera retail accessory product line. Superior will assume management of Kyocera’s existing retail accessory product line while developing a portfolio of new cellular accessories for Kyocera’s CDMA mobile phones.
• Telecom Italia launched the service Flash Me, a mobile application based on 2D code technology that uses the mobile phone’s camera to read a sort of “virtual stamp” printed on magazines, newspapers and other advertising devices, to directly connect the user to the mobile Internet. The technology the carrier chose is provided by its partner Scanbuy.
• Gameloft announced a line-up of 20 games for Android-powered devices such as the T-Mobile G1. Via Android Market, the offerings range from Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2009 to Oregon Trail and CSI:Miami.
• Columbitech says the Saukville Police Department in southeast Wisconsin chose Columbitech for a citywide implementation of its intelligent mobile VPN. Columbitech’s security solution now allows Saukville police officers to obtain secure and uninterrupted access to remote data from laptops while working in the field, the company says.