T-Mobile CEO, Legere, announces “Binge On,” a cell phone service that allows users to stream video services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and others, without it counting against their data plans. The service starts over the next two weeks and is free with any new or existing plans. The Company is in talks with YouTube, but the Google-owned video platform hadn’t quickly agreed to technical terms. The company also doubled data caps on its plans to 2 gigabytes, 6 gigabytes and 10 gigabytes, without changing prices. Legere:
Customers have a huge and increasing appetite for new and innovative ways to use their smartphones. But what I see is there’s amazing content being created, but it’s being created for movie and TV screens. All content is going to the Internet, and I’m trying to get it mobile. It’s a huge disconnect. A big, big portion of data is wasted…This makes huge economic sense. Both investors and customers are going to be real happy. This could be the biggest thing we’ve announced.
T-Mobile agrees to pay at least $90 million for allowing unauthorized charges to be placed and to remain on customer’s bills -- a practice known as cramming. The services including things like horoscopes or celebrity gossip and ran up to $9.99 monthly. The charges, of which T-Mobile kept anywhere from 35% to 40%, often remained on the bill even after customers complained. Chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau Travis LeBlanc:
T-Mobile was in bed with the crammers. Crammers are predators; they’re a threat to consumers everywhere. The FTC has received many thousands of complaints about cramming.
Sprint withdraws its bid to purchase T-Mobile for as much as $40 million. After many meetings with government officials, the decision not to purchase may be attributed to numerous regulatory issues around the purchase. The company is expected to make an official announcement tomorrow.
Sprint agrees to buy T-Mobile in a $32 billion deal. The consummation of the deal would merge the third and fourth largest mobile network operators in the US. Sprint’s owner Japan’s Softbank and T-Mobile’s majority stakeholder Deutsche Telekom need to finalize the terms of the deal. The deal could hit a bottleneck with the US regulators but the parties are ready to challenge in court if the deal gets blocked.
The T-Mobile G1, also known as the HTC Dream, is released. It is the first phone to use the Android operating system. The MSRP is $179.99, and the phone has 192 MB RAM, a 3.2 megapixel camera, and a QWERTY keyboard.
The Open Handset Alliance, a collection of 34 firms including T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola, announces they plan to collaborate with Google to develop Android. They hope it will be the first open platform for mobile phones. Google CEO Eric Schmidt says:
Today’s announcement is more ambitious than any single ‘Google Phone’ that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models.