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Entries in Contract (5)

Wednesday
May022012

Ting Will Pay for You to Get Out of Your Cellphone Contract

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Whether we like it or not, U.S. cellphone carriers, for the most part, require customers to sign two-year contracts. Signing that contract gets you a phone at a discounted price, but requires you to pay for service with that carrier for the next two years of your life. If you want out, you are forced to pay a sometimes-hefty termination fee.

Tucows, an Internet service company based in Toronto, is going to war against service contracts with its Ting cellular service. The company, like U.S. Cellular, NetZero and Virgin Mobile, provides cellphone service without tying you to a network or a contract. And the company is so passionate about contract-free cell service that this month it is even offering to get some people out of their contracts by paying their termination fees.

In what it is calling “Dump Your Contract Month,” the two-month-old company offers to pay the early termination fee -- which ranges from $150 to $350 at carriers like Verizon and AT&T -- for one person every day in May.

“The promotion is to get people talking about the whole idea of going with a no-contract option,” Michael Goldstein, Tucows’ vice president of marketing, told ABC News. “People can submit, and we will pay the fee for 30 people.”

Ting doesn’t even require those who win to buy a Ting phone and sign up for a month of service. But Goldstein said the company hopes that those who do win will be interested in signing up for Ting. “You probably have some intention of signing up if you’ve entered,” he said.

Ting’s network is actually Sprint’s 3G or 4G WiMax network.  Ting, known as a mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO), doesn’t own the wireless network or spectrum, but rather has an agreement with Sprint to offer the service. Ting offers a selection of six Android phones, ranging from $190 to $580, and then has monthly service plans. The phones are pricier than equivalent ones at Verizon, AT&T and other networks, since they are unlocked.

The plans aren’t structured like the ones from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. They are more like a la carte menus; you can mix and match different text message, voice calling, and data offerings. And the plans are affordable: 1,000 minutes cost $18 for a month, 2,000 text messages cost $8, and 2GB of data cost $42. Included with any service are voicemail, picture and video messaging, and tethering/hotspot functionality, so you can use your phone’s Internet connection on your laptop or tablet.

Ting’s “Dump Your Contract” promotion is up and running on its site now.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec302011

Boeing Beats Out Lockheed for Missile Defense Contract

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(HUNTSVILLE, Ala.) --  The Boeing Company will hold on to the seven-year contract worth about $3.5 billion for the primary U.S. shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles, Bloomberg reports.

Boeing beat out the world's largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, and has held the contract totaling up to $18 billion since 1998, according to Bloomberg.

The system, called the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), uses radars and other sensors, communications terminals, command facilities and a 20,000 mile fiber optic communications network "to defend the United States against long-range ballistic missile threats," according to a statement The Boeing Company.

Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said the selection was based upon a two-year proposal process.  According to Bloomberg, the award likely went to Boeing as a result of cost consideration.  For the first time, this contract will require that contractors be held financially responsible for poor quality parts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec142011

CFPB Asks Consumers for Input on New Credit Card Contracts

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently collected consumer complaints about credit cards, one of the overarching themes was confusion over the terms of the cards.  Whether consumers were complaining that their interest rate suddenly went up or that they were charged a penalty fee, it often came down to one thing: they didn't understand the contract.

Now, the CFPB has developed a prototype contract it thinks will simplify the whole mess.

The average credit card contract is about 5,000 words long, while the new CFPB one is a little over a thousand. It doesn't do away with the fine print, necessarily, but instead takes all of the terms of art in the contracts and relegates them to a separate "definitions" page, so the lawyers will still be satisfied.  By shunting that boilerplate elsewhere, the agreement itself can be written in plain language instead of legalese.

Inevitably, though, the new format will not be perfect or perfectly understandable. And that's where consumers come in: the CFPB is asking members of the public to weigh in on the form on its website.

While consumers voice their opinions, the new contract will also be test-piloted by Pentagon Federal Credit Union, an active credit union with credit card customers nationwide. Once smoothed out, however, the model contract is not slated to be mandatory -- credit card companies will have to opt in.

Ira Rheingold of the National Association of Consumer Advocates believes they may balk at first, but he thinks most will eventually get on board, because a credit card agreement that simply states the basics like interest rate, cash advance interest rate, and annual fee will allow consumers to shop and compare and choose the best deals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

GE Wages Never-Say-Die Campaign for Jet Engine Contract

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a never-say-die approach, General Electric's CEO Jeffrey Immelt has vowed to continue to fight for a high-priced military jet engine contract that President Obama, the Pentagon, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate have all said they don't want.

"GE will continue to press our case in the U.S. Senate and elsewhere," Immelt wrote in a note to aviation workers after the recent House vote to eliminate funding for the company's controversial jet engine. The defeat in the House would not, he said, halt development of the Joint Strike Fighter engine, intended as an alternate for one already built for the futuristic fighter by rival firm Pratt & Whitney.

General Electric has already shelled out millions in relentless pursuit of the engine contract, and its vow to fight on is the latest evidence of the company's aggressive strategy for Washington influence. It is an approach that has helped GE become the nation's top corporate spender on lobbying, spending more than $238 million on lobbyists over the past 12 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics -- money that has helped GE gain access to the corridors of power and some of the most remote crevices of the governing process.

"It shows what deep lobbying is all about in Washington," said Ellen Miller, a founder of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which monitors the influence industry. "It's lobbying members of Congress, it's being friendly to the administration, it's being all over the agencies."

While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Medical Association have spent more on lobbying over the past decade, GE sits high atop the list of corporate spenders. AT&T, the nearest competitor, spent $162 million, while Northrop Grumman and Exxon Mobil spent just over $150 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

ABC News requested an interview with Immelt to talk about the company's lobbying strategy. Spokesman Rick Kennedy turned down that request and did not respond to specific questions sent by e-mail about the company's lobbying in general and specifically about the effort to secure the lucrative jet engine contract. Last year, Kennedy told ABC News there was a reason Congress had agreed to fund the development of its engine for years, despite opposition from the Bush and Obama administrations.

"We have been reinstated year after year after year in the budget because the case for competition is simply too compelling for a program of this size," he said. "For this reason, we feel like we're standing on the side of the angels."

An ABC News review of General Electric lobbying found that the company has more than angels on its side -- it has an arsenal of former congressional leaders from both parties, including such well-known figures as former Sen. Trent Lott and former Rep. Dick Gephardt.

Last year, GE also hired Barack Obama's former campaign manager, David Plouffe, as a consultant, according to Plouffe's recently filed financial disclosure forms. It is unclear what Plouffe was hired to do, though his relationship with the president and senior White House staff is close to unparalleled. Plouffe is now back working as a senior advisor to Obama.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb242011

Boeing Wins $35 Billion Air Force Tanker Contract

Photo Courtesy - The Boeing Company(ST. LOUIS) -- On Thursday, Air Force Secretary Mike Donley announced that the Boeing Company had won a $35 billion contract to build the next generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will replace 179 of the service's 400 KC-135 tankers.

"Boeing was the clear winner," said Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn in a news conference Thursday.

According to the contract's terms, Boeing will "design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready tankers by 2017," the company announced on its Web site.

"We're honored to be given the opportunity to build the Air Force's next tanker and provide a vital capability to the men and women of our armed forces," said Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO.  "Our team is ready now to apply our 60 years of tanker experience to develop and build an airplane that will serve the nation for decades to come."

The new aircraft, which will be known as the KC-46A, is expected to provide the "best value for taxpayers" and support approximately 50,000 U.S. jobs with Boeing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







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