Switch away from Sprint, that is.
State Comptroller Susan Combs on Monday asked Sprint to quit charging customers a fee reflecting Texas' expanded business tax, but a spokesman for the wireless phone company said the surcharge will stay.
Sprint in January began charging a surcharge totaling 1 percent of each customer's wireless rate plan called the "Texas Margin Fee Reimbursement."
The fee is meant to cover part of the money that Sprint will owe next year under the business tax expansion, said John Taylor, senior manager of public affairs for Sprint Nextel Corp.
"There is nothing in Texas or federal law that precludes us from making this business decision, which we fully disclosed to our customers and to the public," Taylor said.
Perry spokesman Robert Black called the company's surcharge "a political stunt trying to poke their finger in the eye of the Legislature. ... Why don't they put other charges on their bill? Why don't they ask their ratepayers to pay their utility bill or their CEO's bar bill?"
Putting aside any political points that may or may not be scored by this little stunt, it seems to me that unless Sprint backs off (or is forced to back off) from this, it opens a competitive opportunity for its competitors. The ad copy practically writes itself. Will Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile et al follow Sprint's lead, or will they distinguish themselves as the provider with lower fees? We'll see.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 31, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo