have announced dueling phone plan changes geared toward making you feel
you as if you can call anyone, anywhere, anytime and not pay an extra
Sprint's plan is moving past its "calling circles" and is called the Any Mobile
Anytime plan. Basically, it's unlimited calling between mobile phones,
no matter the service provider, within the United States. The marketing
tag is that users can "cut the cord and save money," implying this is
how and why consumers should finally get rid of their landlines. No
small point, seeing as Sprint used to hold a relatively major portion
of the landline long distance market. While it still offers residential
long distance service, its share of the mobile market is its main focus
these days. Plus, the company has offered long-distance via the
The Any Mobile, Anytime plan is part of the Sprint
Everything Data plans, which start at $69.99 (for 450 minutes of
calling time - want 900 minutes? That'll cost you another $20.). They
have unlimited text, picture and video messaging, as well as unlimited
data services, which include email/Internet service, Sprint TV,
streaming music and exclusive apps such as NFL Mobile Live and NASCAR
Sprint Cup Mobile. There are rates, too, for families. A family of four
would pay the equivalent of $42.50 per person, after adding in the
extra two phones, for 1,500 minutes.
And just to keep track of
such things, Sprint's works on the Palm Pre and the soon-to-come HTC
Hero, as well as the Blackberry Tour.
Not to be outdone,
AT&T launched its "A-List with Rollover
," which gives you the
ability to choose five numbers in the U.S. you can call and not use up
any of your minutes, whether or not they're on AT&T. The "Rollover"
part is the reminder that any minutes you don't use, you don't lose, so
you can sort of double-dip, the company said. Anyone with an individual
Nation plan costing $59.99 or more can use this plan.
Families with AT&T plans of $89.99 or more can designate 10 numbers domestically for their VIPs.
You have to create your A-List on AT&T's web site
Fortunately, the numbers can be changed online whenever you want, so if
you break up with your significant other, you can take him or her off
the list and put on your new sweetie. Or put your best bud back on the
AT&T also announced the rollout of its High Speed Packet Access 7.2 technology
, which is supposed to "provide a considerable speed boost"
to the company's 3G mobile broadband network.
HSPA will add capacity to support what is a now sometimes overloaded
mobile data network and supposedly will meet the demands of a future 4G
network. Six cities will be the beneficiaries of the HSPA for starters:
Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. Initial
service should be available there by year's end. By the end of next
year, 25 of the nation's largest 30 markets will have the service, and
90 percent of AT&T's network will have it by the end of 2011.
the upgraded network will have peak speeds of 7.2Mbps, but AT&T
says customers typically will experience slower speeds, depending in
part on location, device used and network traffic at that time.
AT&T also will have six smartphones
and two LaptopConnect cards compatible with the new technology by the end of this year.
HSPA rollout will be accompanied by an additional "backhaul" to the
wireless network, beefing up the network's connections and backbone,
the company said. That backhaul will support not only HSPA but also 4G
LTE, which is scheduled for trials in 2010 and release in 2011.