The great cell-phone price war of 2008 has begun. Almost 2 weeks ago, Sprint introduced a $119 unlimited voice plan in four markets (including San Francisco). Today, both Verizon and AT&T have rolled out $99 all-you-can-talk voice plans nationally, with Verizon introducing a less-than-spectacular new EVDO data plan.
Here's Verizon's deal:
$99 - Unlimited voice
$120 - Unlimited voice, SMS text messaging, MMS picture messaging
$140 - Unlimited voice, SMS, MMS, VZNav, VCAST, email
$150 - Unlimited voice, SMS, MMS, and data)
$170 - Unlimited voice, SMS, MMS, and international data)
$200 - Family plan with two lines, $100 per additional line.
$59.99 - EVDO card with 5 GB of download (formerly unlimited data)
$39.99 - EVDO card with 50 MB of download
The new EVDO card plan is especially annoying. Before, $59.99 a month would deliver unlimited data over your EVDO card. Now, users are restricted to 5GB a month, with $0.49 overage per MB. With almost every service offering all-you-can-eat plans, this seems like a backward move. Anyone on an old plan gets to keep it.
AT&T is offering a $99.99 unlimited voice plan as well. This can be combined with the $20 iPhone unlimited data plan, or with one of AT&T's other data plans for standard non-smartphones.
If this sounds familiar to longtime AT&T users, it should. Way back in the pre-Cingular days, AT&T offered a "Charter" plan as part of its GSM rollout. It offered $99/month unlimited voice/SMS. Now, you have to pay $139/month for that.
Here are the iPhone unlimited talk options:
$99.99 unlimited voice + $20/$30/$40 data package
$20 = unlimited data and 200 texts
$30 = unlimited data and 1500 texts
$40 = unlimited data and unlimited texts
**Note: the unlimited voice option will not be immediately available in iTunes. However, customers can select one of the existing plans in iTunes, then call us to switch, at no charge, to the unlimited voice plan.
Here's the full press release.
SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 19, 2008 — AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announced today new unlimited voice plans targeted to wireless users who want the predictability of flat rate pricing for unlimited minutes. The plans will be available to new and existing wireless subscribers for $99.99 a month for unlimited U.S. calling on all devices with no domestic roaming or long distance charges. The plans can be combined with any current wireless data plan to give customers the ultimate in wireless freedom.
The new plans, available Feb. 22, can be ordered at one of AT&T's 2,200 company-owned retail stores and kiosks, at www.att.com, or at one of the thousands of authorized AT&T retail locations. Existing customers can choose unlimited calling without extending their contract. New customers have the option of a month-to-month, 12 or 24 month contract.
As with other voice calling plans, AT&T customers can choose from a variety of MEdia Net and messaging plans to meet their needs. For example, customers with standard wireless phones* can choose a data plan such as $5 for 200 text, picture, video and instant messages or $35 for unlimited messaging and MEdia Net access.
"We are pleased to offer our customers these great new plans that deliver value and simplified pricing," said Ralph de la Vega, president & CEO, AT&T Mobility. "This is a highly competitive market and we're committed to moving fast to meet customer needs."
AT&T customers benefit from the nation's largest digital voice and data network, with 3G broadband available in more than 260 major metropolitan markets. The company recently announced plans to expand its 3G network to 350 markets, including all of the top 100.
For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com