I often complain about the control wireless carriers have here in the U.S., but things are slowly getting better. Competition between the big four is at an all-time high in my opinion, thanks to a few developments. Google Android (s goog) is helping to open people’s eyes to T-Mobile and their network. Verizon Wireless (s vz) and Sprint (s s) are working with Research in Motion (s rimm) and Palm (s palm) on hot handsets to compete with AT&T (s t) and their iPhone cash cow. And calling plans are opening up to offer unlimited calls outside of the carrier’s network.
T-Mobile started it with My Faves and eventually, Verizon followed suit. AT&T starts up their own version of such a plan at the end of this week with their “A-List” program. Sprint just added unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes to their Sprint Everything Data plans, calling it “Any Mobile, Anytime.” As I said, it’s taking a while to get there, but competition is slowly opening up the market for consumers. As soon as I heard about the unlimited mobile-to-mobile offering by Sprint, I immediately modified the plan for my Palm Pre (s palm).
When I bought the Pre, I opted for the $99.99 Simply Everything plan because it covered everything — text messages, web, data, NASCAR and NFL Mobile, navigation, minutes, and more are all unlimited. But you can use one of two lesser priced Everything Data plans with the Pre as well. The only difference between the two cheaper plans and the one I originally had is that the voice minutes are metered. For $69.99, you get 450 minutes or for $89.99 you get 900 minutes. All other services are completely unlimited, just like the $99.99 plan.
So why did I leave the $99,99 plan for the $69.99 plan? Two reasons. I really don’t call anyone on a landline these days, so the new “Any Mobile, Anytime” deal will cover most, if not all, of my outgoing calls from the Pre. As long as my incoming calls are held to under 450 minutes, I won’t have any overages and I’ll save $30 a month. The best part — I don’t lose the “unlimited” tag for web, data, messages, navigation or anything else. And Sprint allows you to change to a lesser or greater plan at anytime with no contract extension and no fees.
The other reason I can make this change is because I have a second phone. Barb and I each have an iPhone 3GS (s aapl) with AT&T and of course, we’ll be using the new “A-List” program with the numbers that we call the most. If it looks like I’m nearing my 450 minutes with Sprint, I’ll simply rely more on my iPhone for incoming calls. That’s easy to manage, courtesy of Google Voice. Using GV, it’s a snap to have incoming calls go to my iPhone instead of (or in addition to) my Palm Pre.
We’re still not at a point where we have the flexibility to move phones to different carriers easily. And our data plan choices need a total revamp since the cheaper, $40 a month plans usually offer 250MB of so. That leads most people to the only other choice available — $60 a month for a 5GB plan. But competition is helping on the voice side and I’m going to take advantage of it while I can.
Have you lowered you monthly plan recently due to these types of deals?