Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wireless Goes Unlimited

Posted by: Olga Kharif (BusinessWeek TechBeat) on February 19:

I've worked in the wireless business long enough that this kind of news really interests me. Olga Kharif calls it, "...a historic day in wireless." What do you think?

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.

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