Sunday, February 17, 2008

Verizon to Join The Unlimited Party!?!

Yes, you heard me right. As a special "thank you" to everyone for FINALLY getting off the company's age-old analog network, or rather to, indirectly, the govermnemt for FINALLY letting them close down what was once the universal network on which all cell phones could fall back (such is not the case anymore; new high-end cell phones are generally digital-only anyway) they're offering, or look to be offering, unlimited access at a sweet price. Well, sort of. I also added the "thank you" reasoning.

Rumor has it over at Engadget that the unlimited anytime, anywhere plans will start at $100 for oice, plus access to the small Verizon Mobile Web portal. FOr $20 more you get messaging in unlimited quantity. $20 on top of that gets you other unlimited services like Navigator (GPS), $10 on top of that gets you unlimited data (and we mean unlimited this time, not the notorious 5GB pe rmonth cap), and finally $170 for unlimited overseas data as well, looks like. Family plans are $200 for the first two lines, $100 per line for the next three. Either Verizon is reacting to Sprint's trial of an unlimited everything" plan for $120 per month, which is actually giving as many features as the $150 plan on VZW but is only available in limited areas, or Verizon wants to edge out Page Plus Cellular's $90-ish-per-month unlimited offering. Probably the former of those two reasons, but it might also be competing with AT&T's iPhone sales, putting up a plan that cannibalizes VZW's three highest price points (at $100/2000, $150/4000 an $200/6000 dollars/minutes per month) to get everyone's attention and lure people away from AT&T because they have no such plan, unless they launch one in competition.

Regardless, I think this peculiar timing, along with uncapping data, is directly related to ditching analog. Verizon likely wants to appear as though the government was extremely slow in letting the company turn its analog system off, the benefit of increased network capacity far outweighing the cost of a few thousand subscribers whose phones won't work anymore. So with analog off, will we see dramatic rises in quality and quantity of service from the "big two" (AT&T and Verizon) now that they can use that formerly-analog spectrum for other goodies? Will that force the big two PCS carriers (Sprint and T-Mobile) to now load services onto their cheaper, digital-from-the-start networks to compete? To both questions my answer is "please do"; the whole wireless landscape will benefit from such a change.

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