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U.S. Wireless Competition Expands47:01
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With guest host John Donvan

A price battle among wireless carriers, and new players, like Google, stepping in. We’ll find out how this could benefit you.

In this April 24, 2015 photo, Nick Fox, Vice President for Communications Products at Google, prepares a presentation on Project Fi, in Mountain View, Calif. Project Fi is Google's recently launched attempt to usher in new ways to keep smartphones online while lowering the cost for streaming video, listening to music, getting directions and searching for information. (AP)
In this April 24, 2015 photo, Nick Fox, Vice President for Communications Products at Google, prepares a presentation on Project Fi, in Mountain View, Calif. Project Fi is Google's recently launched attempt to usher in new ways to keep smartphones online while lowering the cost for streaming video, listening to music, getting directions and searching for information. (AP)

When Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T go to war with each other, that’s pretty good news for the rest of us. Because we’re talking price war. In the effort to undercut each other — and steal customers — they are right now almost re-inventing the cellphone bill to our benefit. Add in Google’s aspirations to get into the biz. and who knows how fun it will get. Plus: Netflix — the employer — announces the most generous new baby benefit in America. One year paid maternity for new mothers, and a year off for dads too. But does a pitfall lurk somewhere in all that time away from the office? This hour, On Point. Wireless competition, and the Netflix benefit.
-- John Donvan

Guests

Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, a research and advisory firm. (@jandawson)

Ina Fried, senior editor at Re/Code, covering wireless issues and devices. (@inafried)

From The Reading List

Re/Code:  Sprint Falls to No. 4 Among Wireless Carriers by Number of Subscribers — "Sprint became the smallest of the four major U.S. wireless carriers last quarter, as it gained 675,000 customers compared to more than two million customers for T-Mobile U.S. That left Sprint with 57.7 million subscribers, compared to 58.9 million subscribers for T-Mobile. Some thought the changeover would happen earlier in the year, but strong prepaid gains helped keep Sprint narrowly ahead of T-Mobile in the first quarter.

The Wall Street Journal: Kill the Wireless Contract! Buy Your Own Phone — "It’s now surprisingly easy to live a fruitful mobile life, free of carrier contracts, thanks to unlocked phones. With one, you aren’t bound to a carrier. You could switch from, say, AT&T to T-Mobile or Cricket Wireless, or even to Vodafone when you take that vacation to the Greek Isles. It’s actually how most of the world buys mobile phones."

Washington Post: The most remarkable feature of Google’s new cell service -- "With Project Fi, Google has developed what for most city-dwellers will be a cost-effective and reliable alternative to traditional cell service providers. Although it comes with trade-offs that could deter some — such as power users of Google Voice or those just becoming acquainted with large smartphones — the service also offers a glimpse of what the future of mobile telephony might look like. And it's an exciting vision."

Netflix Expands Family Leave Options

Abigail Hall, research fellow at the Independent Institute. Visiting professor of economics at the University of Tampa. (@missabigailh)

Sarah Jane Glynn, director of Women’s Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress. (@sarahjaneglynn)

Huffington Post: Netflix Now Giving Employees 'Unlimited' Maternity, Paternity Leave — "Netflix is already known for its unlimited time-off policy, which allows employees to decide how much vacation to take in a given year.The policy sounds great in theory, but has been criticized for actually leading workers to take less time off for fear of being viewed as not that hard-charging. The company's whole thing is that it treat employees 'like adults' -- indeed, staffers don't even have to submit expense reports. Making things easier: strong growth and a stock price that's more than doubled this year.

This program aired on August 6, 2015.

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