Unlimited cell phone rate plans have arrived! Here is a recap of the major carrier options (unlimited items in parentheses), along with our comments on these new plans:
- Verizon: $99.99 (voice), $119.99 (voice + text), $139.99 (voice + text + data)
- T-Mobile: $99.99 (voice + text)
- AT&T: $99.99 (voice)
It was inevitable that unlimited would eventually happen, as per minute costs in rate plans have continued to drop and regional carriers like Metro PCS and Cricket have had some success with an unlimited product. (Those other carriers offer unlimited at lower rates of around $40 or $50, but have historically only covered a small area...so more of a landline replacement. However, they have recently started offering some pay-as-you-go roaming options, so were probably starting to encroach a bit on the customer base of the larger carriers.
Usually what happens in wireless is that by the time new products are announced, the customer benefit isn't as great as it might first seem. That is the case here. For example, a Verizon customer could already have gotten 2,000 minutes for that same $99.99. While unlimited is obviously greater than 2,000...that current plan includes unlimited nights & weekends, as well as free calling to other Verizon customers (some 60 million or more). So, at the end of the day, for existing Verizon customers, this plan only benefits those who use more than 2,000 minutes during peak time (6AM to 9PM weekdays) calling people that aren't other Verizon Wireless customers ----- not a huge share of their customer base.
Who should look into these plans?
- People on single line plans over $99 or 2 line family plans above $198.
- People on $80 plans who sometimes incur enough overage to put them over $100, or who want more certainty with their bills