Both Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless announced unlimited calling packages on Tuesday, sending some minor shockwaves through the industry. Both plans give customers unlimited calls to wireless and landline phones with no roaming or long-distance charges. The immediate speculation was other carriers will have to follow suit, and sure enough T-Mobile announced their own unlimited plan a day later. Sprint actually was the first major carrier to come out with unlimited calling in the most recent round of unlimited calling plans. It was a limited trial though in San Francisco and Minneapolis. They now will have pressure to remove the trial status, and take it nationwide. Wall Street is speculating that this activity could lead to a wireless price war, consequently AT&T and Verizon stock began heading south immediately.
The stark reality with these moves is that voice is now seen as a commodity and carriers intend to make their margins with data services, text messaging, and other ancillary applications that will ride their mobile networks. Expect carriers to have a variety of add-ons to these plans. They are already wide varying, with some including text messaging, or other variations. We’ve entered a new phase of competitive posturing by wireless carriers that will impact not only the wireless space, but telecom overall.