NEW YORK (
is ramping up the noir drama a bit.
The U.S. wireless unit of
is preparing what is being called "Project Black," according to a person familiar with the plan. While the source could only confirm that T-Mobile has something brewing under that name, this person declined to share any more information, further compounding the mystery.
Wall Street types who have seen blog reports of Project Black suggesting it could juice business enough to put T-Mobile ahead of No. 3
, are somewhat concerned about what implications it might have for the top two players
Project Black, which kicks off on one of the next two Sundays, could involve the introduction of
Research In Motion's
BlackBerry Bold 2. The new device is codenamed Onyx, and is expected to be a standard looking BlackBerry with a touchscreen.
But a product introduction, even for an intriguing new BlackBerry, doesn't quite pack the potential market power to shake up the industry's player standings.
This is why some investors fear that T-Mobile may introduce a new price plan that could severely undercut the competition. T-Mobile has long been the most aggressive player in terms of prices on its calling plans. Sprint made a splash with its $99-a-month Simply Everything plan that offered limitless calling and data use.
T-Mobile could easily beat that offer. Investors fear a move like that would start a vicious price war among the other carriers, with AT&T and Verizon having the most to lose from a revenue standpoint.
AT&T and Verizon are also facing a looming threat from Internet calling services like
Google Voice, that promise to bring cheaper phone services over the telcos' own wireless networks.
Wall Streeters are paid well to anticipate stock-moving events, but the level of drama with Project Black may not match the action that arrives some upcoming Sunday.
"It's hard to predict how this ends up," says one telecom analyst, adding "companies can get very excited internally about big initiatives, only to watch them fizzle when introduced to the market."