John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Sprint Launches Revolutionary $99.99 "Simply Desperate" Plan

What do you do when you’ve just posted a $29.5 billion loss and you expect to lose 1.2 million customers this quarter, as many as you lost in all of 2007? Well, if you’re Sprint (S), you announce a $99.99 unlimited calling and data services plan.

This morning the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier recorded a massive fourth-quarter loss, suspended its dividend program for the ”foreseeable future,” borrowed $2.5 billion to improve its “financial flexibility” and announced a shiny, new discount service plan presumably intended to make everyone forget about its deteriorating business. Sprint’s ”Simply Everything” plan offers unlimited “voice, data, text, email, Web surfing, Sprint TV, Sprint Music, GPS navigation, Direct Connect and Group Connect” for $99.99 a month.

Not bad for a package of services for which customers have typically paid a premium. Trouble is, it’s relatively close to the $99 price point plans introduced by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile earlier this year. Granted, Sprint’s plan is the only one that includes data right now, but it likely won’t be for long. Certainly, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse doesn’t see it as a cure-all for Sprint’s problems. “I want to make it clear that it’s not a silver bullet,” he said during a conference call with analysts. “But it’s a very important piece. Our business is not performing well right now. We are working aggressively to turn this around, but our financial performance will not improve overnight.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work