Wireless Goes Unlimited: Implications

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 19, 2008

It’s a historic day in wireless. Today, Verizon Wireless unveiled its first unlimited calling plan. Within hours, AT&T and T-Mobile USA followed suit.

This is great news for consumers: In effect, wireless in going the way long-distance pricing had gone years ago. Per-minute prices are becoming irrelevant. One carrier’s service looks even more like another’s; comparing service plans will become a lot easier.

For wireless carriers, though, the news isn’t necessarily good. Consider: Today, at Sprint Nextel, $100 buys 2,000 minutes. That’s about 33 hours of talk time a month. And there are several higher-end plans offering more minutes. Starting today, high-end plans at Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are out to pasture. As of today, $100 — the unlimited plan’s price — is the most a carrier can charge for voice service. The telcos could also get hurt as wireless-to-wireline substitution skyrockets as well.

On the plus side, many people who’ve purchased cheaper, limited-minuted plans may switch up to unlimited offerings. So the wireless companies may actually end up being better off.

This move also carries huge implications for companies like Leap and MetroPCS, which have long tried to differentiate themselves by offering unlimited calling plans. In one day, they have lost one of their biggest selling points. This could be the last straw to finally push these companies toward a merger.

Another company affected: Sprint. By not matching Verizon's price today, the company has proved, once again, that it doesn't move as fast as the competition. A lack of such an unlimited plan could lead to further subscriber losses.

Reader Comments

mass

February 20, 2008 2:55 AM

i love it

Remember

February 20, 2008 10:52 AM

Sprint has had unlimited plans in local markets for quite a while. This isn't a new thing for them, but in typical Sprint fashion they just do it and don't promote it.

PinkPanther

February 20, 2008 12:21 PM

Ha ha ha... 100$ for unlimited calls? Thats too much.

cruise

February 20, 2008 6:54 PM

The old ATT had a better plan and the new ATT will not upgrade them.Unlimited network to network call for about $30.00 less than the present plans.

Manny

February 24, 2008 4:36 PM

This is great news. $99.99 a month for unlimited calling. This is going to work well for a very small percentage of the Consumers. Under 1% of them. For a Family Plan Like my family. wife,son,myself the price is $297.97 plus all the other fees that apply. I hope they get ride of so called Family Plan because there is no benefit to it. Now whenever something sound to good to be true. you need to do some research like why are we offering this fair deal from Companies like the Cell Carriers. because their records would clearly show all they are interested in is to suck every single pennies that they can out of your pockets. What they don't tell you is about the two years contract that come with the Unlimited Calling Plan. What happened when you have to ditch your contract. You end up paying a very high price as consequences. Those Companies know more than the Consumers know about upcoming products and services. They are aware of by the end of 2008 over 50% up to 100% of USA and Canada are not going to need a subscription from them to use their Cell Phones. The Consumers might not even have to pay at all for a cell subcription. The Company with this new Technology do not have a final decision yet on whether they are going turn on cell phones with Bluetooth enabled for free for customers who participate in the new service. if not They believed any price under 30 bucks a month for unlimited Calling will be fair. The New service will be $19.95 a month for Unlimited Nationwide wirelss internet will also be package with a first class IP Telephony for your home for just an additional $9.95 per month. Unlimited calling in the USA and Canada. No bandwidth restriction, always on anywhere at a speed of a true T1 both Upload and Download. You can be in the park, in your a car, on the train, on the plane traveling coast to coast and be online the whole time without a single drop out for just $19.95 a month. Now you think they would join this company and make this service available to you through them. No they want to put you in a grey area so when you need to make the switch then they can emptied out your pockets for hundreds of dollars for ditching thier Contract. for more info on the new upcoming service. go to this website you can email your info to the place in the subscribers list. Internet Service Providers can use the ISP form to Pre registered their company. The Cell phone Carriers can fill out the same form the ISP Companies fill out or they can send their info to be contacted at info@eastwestwifi.com http://www.eastwestwifi.com after all do not count on your internet Service Provider or your Cell Carriers to sign up because they are now to busy trying to figure out a way to get deeper to your pocket before the service is available to you. Get in the subs list is the only guarantee way to have this service the very first day it goes live. http://www.eastwestwifi.com

Hey_You!

February 26, 2008 2:46 PM

Who cares if the "big three" of wireless carriers are offering unlimited plans. (Sprint is on the verge of an implosion and could go belly up any day now, thus they cannot be considered a player anymore) Very few of the big three customers exceed their current rate plans, so there won't be a lot of people wanting to pay extra for usage they won't use. Besides, why should Leap or Metro care? For the same service, a customer can pay $30 instead of $99. Some say it allows customers the ability to roam on nationwide networks, but if Metro and Leap become one, they will become a nationwide player and we'll see the big carriers drop their unlimited rates again. In a nut shell, the big three are just showing their investors they are taking notice of Leap and Metro, but they didn't price themselves to prove they are serious about competing with them.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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