The B-word, "bankruptcy," was dropped in an analyst's research note about Sprint Nextel
However, Moffett added: "To be clear, we are not predicting a Sprint bankruptcy. We are merely acknowledging that it is a very legitimate risk ... [but] we believe that risk is rising."
Collusion or collision?
Verizon's FiOS and Comcast's Xdinity cable services have been strong competitors for years. But Verizon Wireless and FiOS are two completely different animals, Verizon general counsel Randal Milch testified at the hearing. "These agreements are between cable and Verizon Wireless, not the part of Verizon that provides FiOS," he said. "FiOS is part of the telecom sector, and it will vigorously compete."
But the Rural Cellular Association, which consists of T-Mobile, Sprint, MetroPCS, and others, had a different take on what Verizon and the cable companies were up to. "The Verizon-cable deal is elegantly contrived, superbly clever and very difficult to deconstruct," RCA President Steven Berry said at the hearing.
The ax man cometh
T-Mobile, taking hits from customer-base losses and lower call volume, says it will cut its workforce by 5% and close seven call centers to enable it to afford the $4 billion it says it needs to build its LTE network. Part of the money for that buildout will come from the $3 billion in cash that AT&T
T-Mobile has to do something to stay viable. The carrier saw its customer losses rise to 3.1% in the fourth quarter. That's up from 2.5% in the same quarter a year ago.
What's old is new again
NetZero, the Internet services brand owned by United Online
"Free" also because only the first 200 megabytes of data are free each month. If you want more, you have to pay for an upgrade, and there's no going back to free once you do that. But for Clearwire fans, NetZero will be piggybacking on that company's WiMAX network. Every bit counts.
Don't scratch that itch; you may just be getting a call
In one of the more bizarre pieces of news this week, Nokia has made a patent application for tattoos that will indicate when a person receives a cell-phone call. It works using a magnetic ink that will vibrate the skin for an incoming call. That smartphone really will become an indispensable part of you.
More suits than Sy Simms
AT&T just can't stay out of court. This time the Department of Justice is suing the carrier for fraudulently billing the FCC for texting service for the hearing-impaired. The government says that 95% of the $16 million that AT&T billed for the service since December 2009 was for ineligible calls.
But wait; there's more.
The company will have to pay one of its customers $935 over its so-called "unlimited" data plan. Irate over having his unlimited mobile data throttled, or slowed down, by AT&T, Matt Spaccarelli won his suit in small claims court that the giant carrier broke its promise. AT&T threatened to appeal but wisely backed off. Maybe public-relations common sense won out.
Telecom stocks often offer generous dividends. But there are other companies that also provide reliable income to those seeking it. To learn about nine such companies, check out this free special report from The Motley Fool. Hurry, before it's gone!
Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns shares of AT&T. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.