Wireless companies are starting to release their earnings reports for the latest quarter. Here is a summary of reports and related developments for selected wireless companies and what they reveal about their own and the industry's prospects.
— July 10: T-Mobile US Inc., the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier, says it will let people upgrade phones more quickly for a $10 monthly fee. The new Jump plan lets customers upgrade up to twice a year for any reason. Rivals typically allow upgrades after about two years. Customers will still have to pay a deductible of up to $170 if a phone is lost, doesn't work, has water damage or has a cracked screen. Otherwise, customers must pay the usual price for the new phone, typically $100 up front and $20 a month for two years. Jump waives any remaining payments on the old device, but the customer does not get a refund on what was already paid.
Sprint Nextel Corp., the third largest U.S. wireless carrier, formally comes under the control of the Japanese investment firm SoftBank, as Softbank Corp. completes a $21.6 billion investment in Sprint. The cash-and-stock deal gives SoftBank a 78 percent stake in Sprint. The company becomes Sprint Corp. with the change.
— July 11: Sprint introduces a new wireless plan that guarantees new and existing subscribers unlimited voice, text and data plans, in a move to differentiate its service from AT&T and Verizon. Both AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless have ditched unlimited data offerings to new customers. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse says there has been a lot of chatter about when Sprint would do so as well. The guarantee, he says, is a way of telling customers that "we are not going to pull the rug out from under you."
— July 12: AT&T says it will acquire Leap Wireless, the service provider of pre-paid, contract-free plans under the Cricket brand, for about $1.19 billion in cash. The purchase gives the nation's second largest cellphone carrier a leg-up in serving customers who prefer not to have lengthy contracts. It also would give AT&T the right to using Leap's unused airwaves in expanding its existing network.
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