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Unlimited Wireless Plans Coming

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the talk-much-surf-often-text-lots dept.

Communications 206

An anonymous reader tells us about a BusinessWeek story claiming that in a few years most wireless plans will be unlimited. And pretty costly: unlimited cell calling, SMS, and data for on the order of $115 - $150 a month. Sprint is conducting a trial of such an offering in San Francisco, with the intent of rolling it out nationwide, and other carriers are said to be sure to follow suit. An interesting claim in the article is that in 5 years time, 40% of the US population will be untethered from landlines and using their cell numbers exclusively (vs. 15% now).

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206 comments

FIRST WIRELESS TROUT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345333)

i Am a FiSh!

Yawn... (4, Informative)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345337)

I already get unlimited wireless in Pittsburgh for $44/month from Cricket.

Re:Yawn... (2, Informative)

kaeru (245396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345399)

Here in Malaysia we have both EDGE and 3G unlimited data plans from around USD35/month from 3 different providers.

Wouldn't be surprised if other providers around the world have more competitive rates.

This is hardly news.

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345513)

MetroPCS [metropcs.com] already offers this in several cities in the US.

Re:Yawn... (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345623)

I've seen this and the MetroPCS service, and the one thing I've noticed about both is the limited coverage area. They only seem to have service in the big cities, and nothing even just outside. For example, here's MetroPCS' coverage for Detroit [metropcs.com] . Look in the northwest part of the coverage area and note that if you go out to Howell, you're covered, but not in Pinckney, which is just as populated as Howell. Now compare the coverage map for Sprint [sprintpcs.com] . Notice that just about the entire freakin' state of Michigan is covered. The MetroPCS map looks like Sprint's coverage map ca. 1992. Ditto for Cricket in its coverage areas.

Re:Yawn... (2, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345837)

Cricket is perfect for replacing a landline, though. After all, the "coverage area" of a landline is one building. You can pay about the same amount per month for a Cricket phone and carry it all over town - and apparently you also get unlimited usage when you travel to other Cricket markets.

Re:Yawn... (1)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345921)

Factor in unlimited free long distance (which is also part of my plan) and you're gold. I still have a land line, for DSL and all, but I was able to drop my long distance provider (AT&T).

Re:Yawn... (2, Informative)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345641)

Cool. I just heard that MetroPCS [metropcs.com] has all the mentioned features for a flat $60/month. And from the looks of plans page [metropcs.com] , that includes taxes.

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346117)

That's about what I pay Cingular. Of course, in my case "unlimited" means I get a certain number of minutes but never use them all. The price quoted in TFA is nearly three times what I pay!

Re:Yawn... (1)

clevguru (1002704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346279)

I get unlimited voice, internet, directory assistance, SMS, long distance in Cleveland, Detroit, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Louisville, Akron, Canton for about $52 per month with Revol. So Revol has in fact replaced my wireline phone here for about the same price with mobility. I was considering getting T-Mobile for out of state/country coverage. Scott Emick Cleveland, OH

I wondered when this might happen (1)

Arclight17 (812976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345353)

I've got to say that I'm definitely skeptical. What does the business model change to if you have everything included? Though I suppose getting 150 a month from each of their clients wouldn't be such a bad thing.
And can I get unlimited data included with this plan?

Re:I wondered when this might happen (2, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345431)

seriously, i pay less than 1/3 of that and i get unlimited wireless data now. and i havent gone over my minutes since getting the phone. not because im a minute-miser mind you, but because i just dont use the phone part all that much now that ive got all the data i need. sprints coverage may suck, but their data (vision) plans are quite cheap compared to the competition.

Re:I wondered when this might happen (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346075)


Yeah, I was going to say - my Sidekick II gets unlimited data and 300 minutes + free weekends already for $50/month.

And I could swear I heard a cingular commercial on the radio proclaiming unlimited minutes (nothing about data, though) for $50/month.

~Wx

Re:I wondered when this might happen (1)

JayPee (4090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346243)

Agreed. I jumped on Sprint when they first introduced their data service and was hooked up with their promotional $10/mo unlimited data plan. There's going to come a point where market saturation dictates that giving people more minutes just isn't going to cut it and they going to have to go with billing that reminiscent of landlines, sans the long distance fees.

My next phone will be some EV-DO capable thing and from what I understand, Sprint will just grandfather my unlimited data plan to the new system. In my case, early adoption was a good thing.

Re:I wondered when this might happen (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345459)

And can I get unlimited data included with this plan?
It depends how you define "unlimited". If you mean not billed per kilobyte but we'll cut you off if we think you've used too much bandwidth (say, over 1 GB) for the month in our exclusive opinion then I guess yes, it would be unlimited.

Re:I wondered when this might happen (1)

Arclight17 (812976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345707)

Well, at least Verizon won't decide that you're evil until 5 GB.
Then again, they may decide that I'm "harming their network" and need to be destroyed.
Just figured that for 150 a month, I should be getting something a little more than phone minutes.
Thank god I have a landline connection for my pron.
I mean, downloading recipes.
Yeah, that's it. Recipes.

Re:I wondered when this might happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345737)

Ooh, ooh, I know. RTFA!

Re:I wondered when this might happen (1)

seether166 (966881) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346263)

You don't even have to RTFA, it's in the Slashdot description..."unlimited cell calling, SMS, and data"

and how many people will wreck their finances this (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345367)

how many people out there will wreck their finances this way?

Amazing, just a few years ago most people didn't think they had to have a cell phone, let alone use it all the time. Yet these days I know some families that have gone over the top with them.

Sorry, but having a $50 to $100+ new monthy expense is not my idea of progress. What is truly amazing is that the Cell providers marketing worked so well. Pay by the minute? I guess unlimited coming so expensive makes sense because people will convince themselves they are getting a deal.

We have unlimited local calling on some plans in the Atlanta area and a few give you unlimited national calling too. These plans are regularly less than $50 a month but the only hang up is limited local coverage even though they piggy back on another network.

Now unlimited high speed data "might" be worth it. Might be because for the most part people don't need it. Businesses and self employed might need it. Say going to a client and making a presentation and you need stuff from outside at the last minute. Regular people? What, watch YouTube on my phone? I guess some will.

$100+ a month for voice - not for me, I can put that $100 to far better use. Kill yourself with monthlies and keep moaning about how you don't get paid enough - I won't

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345441)

Ruin financially?

Yeah, perhaps in the early days I had a cellphone. That would be in 1996. These days, I have this nice plan: pay for what you actually use. No base fee (as in 0€), and only pay 0.09€ per minute (or per SMS). (No, it's not a prepaid card) Sure, when roaming it gets a bit more expensive, but not the end of the world. I set apart exactly 10 per month for cellphone calls (meaning nearly 2 hours calling) and I never break that barrier.

No way a cellphone is going to ruin me... The reason is evident: just look at the currency I use....

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345523)

OP has a valid point. Monthlies will kill your finances if not looked at wisely. What if you took $100/month and invested it in your retirement or even just a normal stock portfolio? THAT is how the smart build wealth.

But if you spend $100/month on your 'essential' unlimited trendy cellphone (never the $29.99 or free basic phone, right?), another $80-100/month for cable television, $299 + $150 insurance/month for your leased car, $50/weekend to hit the bars and see a movie to unwind....do you really wonder why despite the good job you can never really get ahead?

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (2, Insightful)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345631)

What if you took $100/month and invested it in your retirement or even just a normal stock portfolio? THAT is how the smart build wealth.
Then after some unspecified amount of time, you'd have a whole lot of money, and a whole lot less life in which to do anything with it.

For some people, accumulating wealth isn't their reason for existence.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345917)

Correct, but those people are to the first to ask for a handout when hard times come along.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345873)

No, monthlies do not kill your finances: they enable you to plan ahead. What you need to do is proper financial planning, a.k.a. making a budget [slashdot.org] and then see what is really not valuable to you. Example: you pay 100/month for cable (frankly, that sounds like a lot... it's 80€ bi-yearly for me) and that is because you have some premium movie channels. Do you really watch that much TV? Isn't it cheaper to rent a DVD from time to time if you fancy a movie? Based on the answers of these questions, you cancel your cable (or the premium package) and save money.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346439)

What you need to do is proper financial planning


BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Thanks for the laugh. I needed it.

What country are you from? This is America. We don't do proper financial planning or even basic financial planning. Financial planning means figuring out how to pay for the $100/month cell phone bill out of our next paycheck because we're so overextended in debt. In fact, a recent suvey showed that 40% of those surveyed said they were living paycheck to paycheck [cnn.com] , and that included people making over $100K/year.

If the people of this country were truly concerned about financial planning, check cashing companies would be out of business and the economy would tank because people wouldn't be spending money on useless things like a $100/month cell phone plan.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346637)

Tiny country in Europe... but yes, you're right. I completely forgot even though I saw this [youtube.com] some time ago.

Personally, I don't think that the economy would crash when everyone had more financial responsibility, but hey... I'm not an economist.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345949)

You guys have this all wrong. Have work pay for it. Problem solved...

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345783)

Now unlimited high speed data "might" be worth it. Might be because for the most part people don't need it. Businesses and self employed might need it. Say going to a client and making a presentation and you need stuff from outside at the last minute. Regular people? What, watch YouTube on my phone? I guess some will.

It's useful for more than watching YouTube on your phone. You can use your phone as a modem in a lot of cases. And if you are doing that and the speed is fast enough for actual internet access, this bill could allow you to combine your cell phone bill and internet bill. (3G speeds and above I bet would be acceptable to most consumers) So when you look at it as 100-150 a month for unlimited cell/unlimited internet, that's not so bad.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345793)

You'd have to use your cell phone a lot to justify spending $100/month, or even $50/month. I have tmobile prepaid at 10 cents/min, and I certainly never use enough minutes to justify switching to an unlimited plan. You'd have to use more than 500 minutes a month to make it worth spending $50 on a plan that gives you more talk time.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

yoha (249396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345895)

you'll just moan about how other people get killed with monthlies. wierdo.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346071)

Only in America would this pricing scheme seem like a great deal.

Sprint offers the plan and gets new subscribers. It drives up profits and the other wireless carriers follow suit, but offer the service $5 less than Sprint. Sprint customers, locked into contracts, bend over and hand Sprint the Vasoline until one of the competitors makes an offer like paying your early contract termination fees. One year from now, these unlimited plans will have dropped to $50 (or less).

Eh. I would like to see the following wireless plane exist: you have a phone. there is no monthly fee. pre-paid minutes NEVER expire (without forcing a customer to pay for 1,000+ minutes).

I only want a cell phone for ONE purpose...an emergency phone to keep in the car. I have researched all of the non-contract phone plans and I find them all lacking. I certainly am not going to $120 per month. That is what I am paying for Phone + DSL + Satellite TV COMBINE.

Ultimately, I am not the target market. Thus, my opinion won't matter to Sprint et al. They will still make billions and I will continue waiting for the perfect emergency phone plan.

Re:and how many people will wreck their finances t (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346165)

I completely agree with your post. I have a 400 minute plan right now and I typically use only about half of it. What I need is for us to go in the other direction. I want cheap per minute access. There's no reason I should have to pay for so much service when I don't really need it. $50 is definitely the most I would ever want to go. If that changes I might have to find a wireless symbian/skype enabled phone like one of those nokias.

Ok, but what about... (5, Insightful)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345371)

regular calling? I don't need SMS, I don't need Internet connectivity. I'm one of those rare freaks out there that actually uses the cell phone for *gasp* emergencies and quick phone calls. I don't text message people under the table during dinner (I engage in what some people call conversation with friends and family face-to-face), I don't browse the Internet (that's what I have a wireless work laptop for), and I stick with one of the pre-installed ringtones (ever notice how many people use Jingle Bells as their ringtone at Christmas?). Great, create the unlimited calling plan for $150, just don't leave those of us who only need about $25 worth of that plan in the dust.

Re:Ok, but what about... (4, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345555)

I'm one of those rare freaks out there that actually uses the cell phone for *gasp* emergencies and quick phone calls.
All my mother-in-law wants is a phone that can be loaded with 100 minutes for emergencies to call a tow truck or her husband and she wants those minutes to never expire. She just wants to throw the phone in the glove compartment for emergencies, but I have yet to find any prepaid service like this. Everyone wants you to periodically (every 2-3 months) buy new minutes to refresh your balance or else your service is terminated. Why should it matter whether you use the minutes you bought today or 3 years from now? You paid for minutes and that should be all that matters.

Re:Ok, but what about... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345645)

It costs money to operate a cell tower, even if nobody uses it. Why should your mother-in-law have permanent access to such a service for a one-time charge?

Re:Ok, but what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345827)

Look at Alltel Prepaid, I'm pretty sure that the minutes do not expire.

Re:Ok, but what about... (1)

choseph (1024971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345857)

In Washington I got a Cingular deal where I had to spend enough to get on some gold plan ($80?) of prepaid usage -- after that I just have to add at least $5 a year and it never expires. Buy the pre-paid SIM, use it until it has only a few bucks left, then give it to your mother-in-law as a gift. Add 5 bucks every year and borrow it again to deplete it when you hit 50 bucks (if the phone and/or service lives that long).
'never expires' is an interesting concept though -- if the minutes don't expire you still have to deal with the phone, the battery, the company, and the plan they offer all dying.

Re:Ok, but what about... (3, Informative)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345861)

I have a AT&T (nee Cingular) GoPhone that has exactly this plan. Pay 'em $100 up front. Minutes cost $0.25 per. At the end of 12 months they keep any of the $100 that you haven't used.

Since I would only use the phone for emergencies there's no way I'll use 400 minutes in a year (I've had the phone 3 months and haven't used ANY minutes yet) what I'm doing is paying AT&T $100 for 12 months of cell phone service. That's $8.33/month. You do have to buy a phone. Mine cost $30.00.

Re:Ok, but what about... Emergencies (4, Informative)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346081)

"All my mother-in-law wants is a phone that can be loaded with 100 minutes for emergencies to call a tow truck or her husband and she wants those minutes to never expire."

For true emergencies, any working cell phone can still make 911 calls (or cellular version thereof *999 - whatever). That's free - no carrier, no bills. In many areas, the local police or cell phone stores will take donated old cell phones to give to local women's shelters and to shut-ins for just this purpose.

Look around the house, find a phone from a provider you no longer use or whatever, and charge it up and give it to her. The biggest hassle is usually the battery - those lithium batteries have a 'shelf-life' of about three years before they can hold no charge at all. They hold their existing charge quite nicely on the shelf, but their capacity is what goes down.

Re:Ok, but what about... (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346283)

This seems like a good place in this discussion to point out my current cellphone plan which has zero fixed fees, you only pay by the minute. Then again, this is in Finland where you buy your own phone and get the service separately. Most plans here are practically unlimited, with a relatively high monthly fee that includes lots of free calling time.

Re:Ok, but what about... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346375)

just don't leave those of us who only need about $25 worth of that plan in the dust.

The problem is you can't find any plans cheaper than $39.99 these days and those usually end up being $60 after taxes and other "fees".

I never have even come close to using up all my minutes at all at any given time.

Re:Ok, but what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346551)

I'm one of those rare freaks out there that actually uses the cell phone for *gasp* emergencies and quick phone calls.
In fact, you are an increasingly rare freak. The simple fact is cell phones are replacing long distance service now. For almost the same price per minute, people are getting a phone that allows them to make local and long distance calls for the same rate, and considering free nights and weekends are basically the norm, most people are probably paying less for their cell phones then they were for long distance. This is really important for those of us who do not live 10 minutes from their parents' house (or in their basement). Considering I do not live in the town in which I grew up, or the town in which I went to college, the cell phone is my primary phone. (I often wonder why I even have a landline.)

I don't browse the Internet (that's what I have a wireless work laptop for)
That is great, so do a lot of people. But if you are talking about 802.11 wireless only, you have to be at a hotspot, and even all of those are not free. This service makes even more sense if you can use your phone as a modem, in which case the PC just gained wireless internet everywhere, and it will be more secure then that unprotected wifi at your local coffee shop or Panera.

I stick with one of the pre-installed ringtones
So do a lot of people. Largely because we do not like getting raped for the rates by the carriers. My last phone had a ringtone, because BestBuy's discount was paying up to $75 of my first month's bill. So you can bet I downloaded several ring tones and games since it wasn't on my dime. I really need to hack my current phone (DAMN YOU VERIZON) so I can use an MP3 ringtone from my TransFlash card.

Honestly, here is your wake-up call to the 00's. We are out of the '90s. You are getting rates better than almost a buck a minute. You are getting service that is good enough most of the time. Unless you never interact with people on a phone, I see no reason not to have a real plan. This, just for emergencies thing is bullshit.

up the quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345381)

Get rid of my land line? Cell coverage in my neighborhood is spotty at best. The quality of a call is never as good over a cell phone as it is over a land line. Never. Yes, I have a cell phone for convenience, but it is not going to replace my land line until the call quality goes way up.

Broadband? Sorry, my DSL line provided excellent service for years, and now my FIOS line is even better. With Verizon rolling out FIOS and the cable companies entering the market with triple play solutions to the home, I cannot see people abandoning either of those two services to have a mobile only connection, not in significant numbers.

The one place that mobile may have an advantage is the rural areas between cities that are covered by 3G services, where there is no other wired offering.

Re:up the quality (4, Insightful)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346457)

I too live in a rural area with spotty reception.

OK, I'm old, and when I was a kid I used to watch "Green Acres." One of the running gags was that by moving to the country this lawyer from New York had to go outside and climb a telephone pole to receive a call. I guess it seemed pretty outrageous at the time.

40 years later I see people standing outside of buildings all the time, in all kinds of weather, trying to improve their mobile phone reception.

Expensive (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345393)

If people are going to be paying that much for unlimited wireless data, with no option for 'some wireless data', then they'll be cancelling their home phone lines in order to scrape some money back. Low broadband users might scrap that too and use their phone for internet!

Which is a big wet dream for the mobile service providers.

Consumers, on the other hand, don't have a limitless supply of money, especially these days where everything is getting more expensive across the board. It will be hard for them to justify >>$100 a month, even with a free fancy phone.

health concerns? (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345401)

Am I the only one who's concerned with the health risks involved with all these increased dosages of electromagnetic radiation exposure?

I'm pretty sure that we're all the Guinea pigs of tomorrow.

Soon enough we'll start comparing the cellular industry with Tobacco industry.

Re:health concerns? (4, Funny)

petabyte (238821) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345509)

Am I the only one who's concerned with the health risks involved with all these increased dosages of electromagnetic radiation exposure?

Of course not. That is why I, like many slashdoters, avoid that big bright producer of electromagnetic radiation in the sky whenever possible. As a side benefit, my pasty white completion will soon be white enough for me to qualify as a white body and as such, EM radiation will just bounce happily away from me.

Note: Intended as a joke and I haven't had a physics class since High School so ...

Re:health concerns? (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345545)

I hardly think that holding a radio transceiver next to your head is more than a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amounts of EM being broadcast terrestrially and from space.

Plus it's non-ionizing radiation anyway. The most a radio wave can do tissue is heat it (like a microwave) and yes that can be harmful but it would take a staggering number of cell phones and an unrealistic continuous exposer time.

Re:health concerns? (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345735)

...it would take a staggering number of cell phones and an unrealistic continuous exposer time.

Don't you see how relevant that is to this story though?! With unlimited plans, I'll be able to finally afford that fifth cell phone I've been looking at! I'll never have to put any of them down!

How else if not? (1)

conradov (1026760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345405)

How else could this companies charge for a service that is all intrinsically the same? It is all wireless digital data transfer. It is hard to imagine a different option. Some won't sniff your data, and those are going to be the winners.

Just like ISPs! (3, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345409)

"Our customers have unlimited bandwidth, but some are more unlimited than others!"

Now that we know how ISPs have chosen to implement 'unlimited', we should expect similar from the cellular companies. It won't be long before they've all merged together anyway.

The FDA requires food products that contain no actual cheese to refrain from using the word 'cheese' in their names. And so you get things like 'cheez whiz'. I say we require ISPs and Cellular companies to do likewise. Then we'll know when our plan is truly 'unlimited' versus merely 'unlymited'. :)

Well... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345427)

...now I am generally curious. Seeing as I don't use a cell phone right now, and I pay on the order of about 39.99 a month for unlimited long-distance calling, and that money goes toward... you know... actual infrastructure... where is my $115 bucks a month going? Wireless removes a lot of the overhead (no wires, no poles, no digging up the fsck'ing road to bury said wires) and simplifies it enormously (buy small parcel of land, rezone, and plop tower on it...), why such a significant jump? Is it simply because people perceive cellular phones as so mystical that they think "surely this must cost a fortune to run? Or is it the phone company saying.... well, they pay 60 bucks a month for 500 minutes, they should see this as a deal!? And on a total sidenote... How do they intend to deal with emergencies. Landlines are capable of deaing (better) with overload during crisis, but cellular systems just go pft!

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345937)

where is my $115 bucks a month going?

Part of it goes into developing cutting-edge useless technologies that they can charge stupid teenagers extra for. A big chunk of the rest goes into plastering ads over every square inch of the known universe. And then there's the pile of cash devoted to the development of cutting-edge advertising technologies... Don't forget about congressional bribes, no major industry survives for very long without those. After the CEO's cut, there should be about $5 left to put toward infrastructure (aka bribing local governments to allow the placement of cell towers).

Re:Well... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346161)

buy small parcel of land, rezone, and plop tower on it...

Most companies rent the land, a much much much more logical choice for many reasons. Granted not everyone wants a cell tower on their property so it does cost a decent amount to rent the land.

I pay 24 a month (1)

A Wise Guy (1006169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345463)

I pay 24 dollars a month with unlimited wireless through AT&T. After Cingular purchased aquired them, They wanted to rob me for 74 a month only if I decided to change or "upgrade" my phone. I still use my siemens s56 with infrared, bluetooth, which I still connect to my bluetooth laptop or my zaurus C-3200, C-1000, C-3100, SL-5500 for unlimited data. HELL I even still listen to the shoutcast player on itfor hours on end at times when I'm stuck somewhere. I been doing this for I think 5 years already?

the 2003 power outage (1)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345465)

When we had the great power outage in 2003, our land phone lines continued to work, but the cell phones were hosed. My wife's greatest concern has always been the reliability of the land lines, even though they too can go out. This is probably the last main reason we haven't switched to all cellular or at least to cable phone.

Re:the 2003 power outage (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345961)

The only reason the landlines still worked had to do with what they did to get the reliability.

They've got huge banks of 48 volt lead-acid or better batteries that hold 48-72 hours of juice
minimum for the entire system at "normal" usage levels. If the mobile phone towers had that
level of backup, the mobiles probably would have worked as well.

Unlimited? Has to be MUCH cheaper. (3, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345475)

Today I have one land line exclusively for the 'unlimited' aspect of the MCI Neighborhood plan because that line accrues 4-5,000 (thousand) minutes a month. It costs $72 including taxes. I also have an AT&T CallVantage VoIP line for work and I believe its 'unlimited' is actually capped at 5,000 minutes/month. But before you all tell me to discard MCI landline let me tell you that it's orders of magnitude more reliable than CallVantage. If I had to pay for AT&T VoIP, I wouldn't. It sucks. Then I have 5 lines on a shared minute Sprint plan. 2,500 minutes/month. So if Sprint wants to give me 'unlimited' minutes it has to be an additional 5,000 minutes per month and it can't cost more than $50/month plus all the garbage taxes. So the price has to come down by at least half. Compared to crappy VoIP for $25/month 'unlimited' cell would have to come down in price by 3/4ths.

Re:Unlimited? Has to be MUCH cheaper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345569)

I used to have unlimited cell service (including data) through SunCom (owned by AT&T at the time) for ~$120/month for 3 phones (total, not per phone). Unfortunately, Cingular bought it out and screwed up the billing (and removed the data options, which were only a couple of extra dollars a month on the plan) to the point that it was actually cheaper for us to pay the $150/phone to get rid of them (and in the end they owed us so much in credits that it cost us almost nothing to cancel all 3 phones).

It was a pretty nice way to deal with cell bills, since you knew how much you were going to pay every month, regardless of what you did with the phones (2 of the phones regularly logged between 2000 and 5000 minutes each per month, it wasn't uncommon for us to have cell bills with 12000 minutes on them). Under our current plan we've had to adjust our minutes, and the only thing that saves us from terrible over-runs is the in-network and night-time unlimited minutes.

My wife had SunCom for a few years before we met, and I was under her plan for 3 years. At this point, though, it's only been a little over 2 years since SunCom was removed from the area by Cingular, and we're looking at switching to our 3rd carrier since SunCom at the end of our contract period (in 3 months). Everyone's plans are more of the same, and as soon as there's a problem with the customer service there's no reason not to switch to someone else.

Unlimited wireless in Finland, starting from 57e (3, Informative)

Iloinen Lohikrme (880747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345483)

How can they charge so much? In Finland, you can in example get 3G phone packet from Saunalahti that includes a 3G phone, 3000min/month to all GSM and wired phones, videophone-calls for 3000min/month, 3000 sms/month, 3000mms/month and 3G-, EDGE- and GRPS data connection with max 384 kbit/s speed and that only costs 57,95euros which already includes sales tax. To me paying 57euros from that packet is little bit expensive, I would definitely get it if it would cost 30 to 40 euros... charging 115 to 150 dollars from basically the same deal that Saunalahti offers is just crazy, I wouldn't accept it.

Because they CAN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345541)

Wireless is reasonably expensive and still charged per minute in the US.

There are people for which $150/month would probably be a good deal.

On the other hand, if Sprint or others change such that $150/month is the default plan, my cell phone goes out the window.

Re:Unlimited wireless in Finland, starting from 57 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345585)

Maybe you don't pay attention to exchange rates, but by the time these services are launched, 58 euros will be 150 dollars!

Re:Unlimited wireless in Finland, starting from 57 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345887)

Welcome to capitalism, where the "invisible hand of the market" decides everything.

Repeat after me... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346139)

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." - H. L. Mencken

Part of the problem is that we are attempting to create a public utility from what started as a luxury service. We simply want to be able to talk on the phone, we're blineded by the bells and whistles, and the providers are used to being able to charge through the nose for phone calls that - as I've said before - are seemingly carried by gold-encrusted fairies on a steady diet of caviar.

Same on a lesser scale for TV services, and the reverse is true (at least in deregulated Connecticut) of thet existing public utilities like the power company, which is fast becoming a luxury industry. Their stock price doubled, dividends up 50% in 3 years - pretty amazing moneymaking for a utility. I realize they have to answer to investors, but they also have to answer to the people who pretty much have no other way of keeping the lights on, as this happened at the same time our electric rates - and actual bills - nearly doubled.

Re:Unlimited wireless in Finland, starting from 57 (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346615)

Or, also in Finland, services starting from 37.70 per month with 1000 minutes and 100 messages per month.
http://www.dnafinland.fi/yksityisille/liittymat_ja _palvelut/gsm/hinnat_dna_urho.shtml [dnafinland.fi]

Or, also in Finland, services which cost 0.66 per month [not a typo] with less than 0.07 per minute/message for calls.
http://www.dnafinland.fi/yksityisille/liittymat_ja _palvelut/gsm/hinnat_dna_onni.shtml [dnafinland.fi]

Cellular customers are really ripped off in the US.

Re:Unlimited wireless in Finland, starting from 57 (1)

hador_nyc (903322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346625)

yeah, my girlfriend lived in Europe for a few years after college; and was shocked about how much cheaper cell phones are there. My thinking that part of the reason is that it's easier to change cell plans there without changing your phone; ie don't you just need a new crystal(transmitter card) and all? I think that fact, that you need a new phone here, is part of the reason they've been able to keep prices up.
Oh well...

Only the good will survive (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345503)

The moment this is implemented the differences between carriers will boil down to price and service quality. It would be nice to see the wireless industry divided like the pizza industy: cheap, decent offerings and expensive, high quality offerings. That at least would be better than the current confusing crop conflicting plans and prices.

Obligatory posts (-1, Flamebait)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345531)

bla blah blaHaving to pay for recieving a phone call is ridiculousbla bla blaI just want a simple cell phone that calls people and that's itbla bla blaHere in Europe the government doesn't let phone companies offer two-year plans, it is so greatbla bla blaThe iPhone is the penultimate consumer device even though it hasn't been released or reviewed yetbla bla blaJapanese Cell phones are three years ahead of the US and people use their cell phones to control their washing machine & suck their dickbla bla bla

So what? (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345577)

In the future there will be service for a little cheaper they are saying. Nextel plan with 2000 minutes for a blackberry with unlimited data is about $150. So this will just be taking it the next step, just like the current plans are a step beyond what used to be.

Let's talk about tethers (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345583)

40% of the US population will be untethered from landlines

Tethers need not be visible. In this case people will simply be exchanging a small one for a big, thick, heavy one. Anyone remember ye good ole days, when you had to purchase phone hardware exclusively from Ma Bell? We went through that crap once before the government stepped in and forced them to allow us options. Now we're going through the same thing again with the cellular industry - except its worse. We've got phones that should be capable of doing all sorts of fantastic things, but can't (or won't) unless we buy our software from the carrier, pay the bandwidth fees to them to transfer it (because we can't just plug our phone into our PC and transfer software that way), then continue paying subscription and bandwidth fees if we want to continue using our software. We have to sign 2 year contracts just to get a phone at a reasonable price. They offer insurance that, after 6 months, isn't worthwhile because the cost of the phone has plummeted, and it's cheaper to buy a phone from a 3rd party than pay just the deductible.

Right now I think we're entering a phase in which carriers are not really trying to compete with one another. Have you ever noticed how you can go into a town and every gas station's prices are within a couple cents of one another, and go down the road a few miles and all those stations prices are 5% cheaper? That's because they aren't competing - they're consorting together (indirectly) in their micro-market to set the prices they want. Well, that's what's going on with cell market. You shouldn't have to pay $100 a month network fees for a single cell phone just for decent service, and unfortunately that's where we stand today. Enough people have been bit by an over-minute cell phone bill, with obscene per-minute rates, that the carriers can now extort people to pay a much higher flat monthly fee simply to avoid the risk.

Dan East

Re:Let's talk about tethers (0, Troll)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345681)

We've got phones that should be capable of doing all sorts of fantastic things, but can't (or won't) unless we buy our software from the carrier, pay the bandwidth fees to them to transfer it (because we can't just plug our phone into our PC and transfer software that way), then continue paying subscription and bandwidth fees if we want to continue using our software. We have to sign 2 year contracts just to get a phone at a reasonable price.

Sony Ericsson K800i, came with a USB cable which I've used to transfer some mp3s to it to use as ringtones, perfectly happy to run anything I care to name from getjar.com or transferred from PC with no strings attached, perfectly happy to send and receive mp3s or images via infrared or Bluetooth. Cost £70 then £12 per month on a 12 month contract.

Oh, wait... you're American. Sorry.

Re:Let's talk about tethers (2, Insightful)

dvnelson72 (595066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346085)

How can you possibly compare government mandated monopoly to not getting all the software you want? You can change carriers at will. You may feel like they are moving too slow, but think about how much more your phone does today than in 2000. Digital was just starting to take hold in 2000. We didn't have dual modes. We didn't have any data to speak of. We certainly couldn't surf the web, send emails or take/send photos. Right around then Bellsouth was offering a blackberry like device and you could see the future but you could barely touch it.

Furthermore, I'm not sure, but can't you buy Palm and WindowsCE devices that can connect to your carrier? Seems to me that you can install anything you want on that device.

alltel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345597)

My plan is through Alltel, and I get unlimited calling to 10 numbers plus 1000 anytime minutes for $60. I think that is pretty good since those 10 numbers account for about 90% of my minutes anyways. There is no way I would pay $100 for "unlimited."

you FAIL 1t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345599)

guys are usuaaly may be hurting the Project. Today, as but I'd rather hear

joke? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345651)

cellone in MI has had unlimited plans for four years maybe at 50bux/month, I had one for two years. Switched to alltel for a better deal on two lines.

I pay (1)

emj (15659) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345749)

25/month for 3.6Mbits unlimited plan, wireless all over Stockholm. At the moment there's no problem with it at all. Though I wish I could configure it to automatically switch over to my WLAN when I'm at home, now I just continue to surf on the 3G network..

Re:I pay (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346635)

Sweden is roughly the size of Montana and has 10 times the population. The problem in the US is that it is large, with sparse population except for a small number of large cities. In the large cities, there are a plethora of Cellphone companies and you can get pretty inexpensive plans. If you travel and want a national plan, you are screwed. That, and broadband service is limited to major metro areas at best. This probably won't change anytime soon.

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345807)

40% of the US population will be untethered from landlines and using their cell numbers exclusively

Tethered? That should mean not going far from it. We always leave our landlines at home. Hence, untethered. We carry our cell phones with us, so we are never far from them, hence tethered.

Further, when moving, land line numbers change, and we accept that. For cellular phones, we now have laws that let us take them with us even when changing carriers.

Land lines are also cheaper. The main advantages of cellular phones are convenience, and no monopoly.

If anything, there is more freedom with a land line. Just ask anyone with a cell phone.

Who needs unlimited? (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346007)

I just checked plans on Verizon, and they have a 4000 minute plan, with free nights/weekends for $149.99. That is basically unlimited, since your core minutes would only be used M-F, 6am - 9pm, which is roughly 4500 minutes. Considering "In" calling and the unlikelihood that your phone would be constantly "talking" 6am-9pm I would say one might even get away with 2000 minutes at $99.00. So in other words, wheres the news. Let me know when they claim unlimited plans for like $75.00/month.
And can someone explain the 6000 minute plan, maybe it is for people that can't do math??

Re:Who needs unlimited? (1)

mpv1145 (987306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346189)

Unfortunately, I think you need to add yourself to the list of people who can't do math. The plans are for minutes per month, not minutes per week, which is what you calculated for 6am to 9pm, Monday through Friday. However, you present a conundrum, your time calculation is not roughly 4500 minutes, it is exactly 4500 minutes. So now I am confused. Can you do math or not?

Re:Who needs unlimited? (2)

TimeTrav (460837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346225)

Your math is a little off, I think you meant to calculate for the entire month, not just one week.

6 am to 9 pm is 15 hours, or 900 minutes. Multiply by 5 weekdays and you get 4500. Multiply by 4 weeks (lets calculate for February just for the sake of simplicity) and you get 18000.

That said, it is indeed possible to burn through 4000 minutes and I know a "road warrior" technician that uses his phone for work who has broken that amount.

Re:Who needs unlimited? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346269)

21:00 (9pm) - 6:00 (6am) = 15 hours (per day)
15 hours * 60 minutes = 900 mins (per day)
900 mins * 5 days (M-F) = 4500 mins (per week)

now here's the part you forgot:
4500 mins * 4 weeks = 18000 mins (per month)

"maybe it is for people that can't do math??"

(Or maybe it's for people who can)

Re:Who needs unlimited? (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346281)

6000 minute plans are meant for multiple lines I belive... It divides up better if you have 3-4 or 10 phones...

Re:Who needs unlimited? (1)

happymellon (927696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346503)

6000 mins, is that used in family plans for min sharing? Specially designed so you no longer have to talk to your spouse.

Hopefully Cingular will follow (1)

ShadowHywind (1028398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346119)

it would be fun to have unlimited internet/txt messages on the go, and not be limited to 2000 txt a month.

Re:Hopefully Cingular will follow (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346235)

You write over 65 text messages a day?

Wow, just wow....

Re:Hopefully Cingular will follow (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346737)

I know people who send summaries of their email to their phones as text messages. It's EASY to exceed 65 / day that way. Stupid I know, but... Way back when, I used to use a Motorola SkyWriter two-way pager for this. Today it would make a LOT more sense to use a smartphone with data plan. Great for "on call" techs.

Like "Unlimited" cable? (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346133)

How much can you talk before you get a letter saying you talk too much and are affecting the network?

Are they any better than the cable companies?

Unlimited "Broadband"? (1)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346289)

From TFA "...plus unlimited mobile broadband access.".

Isn't this just marketing? The last I'd read, mobile data access in the US could hardly be called "broadband".

Quality of cell phone connections... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346313)

How can we as a society on our own free will determine it's better to go with a service that has no regulations on quality or uptime? It's now a daily occurance that I or someone else I'm talking with goes through the "are you there? you're breaking up..." routing. 99% of the time when someone calls me on my cell, I ask them if they can call me back on my landline either my desk (if i'm at work, VOIP) or at home. At that point i've never had the connection "mysteriously drop out". I just don't buy the 40% of the population number. What percentage of the US doesn't have a cell phone at all?

In 5-10yrs, I want my cell phone to determine that I'm in my house (or at work) and act like a 'standard cordless phone' and connect with a baseunit in my building/home instead of trying to reach the tower a mile away. There's just two much truth in Verizon's "are you there? Good" advertisements. Not truth about Verizon, but the scary truth that cell phones are not just reliable enough. And no I don't want a tower hidden in every bellfry, office building, or "fake tree" on every corner.

Re:Quality of cell phone connections... (1)

webgeek2point0 (1003266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346427)

They do have something like this. It's called UMA. Currently, Tmobile has this in beta testing and should roll this out nationwide this year (called Hotspot@Home). This technology lets you connect to your wireless router at home with your cell phone. The change will be seamless between your router and cell towers.

I'd go for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346321)

I for one would love an unlimited wireless plan. I know that a lot of smaller companies offer unlimited plans now, but they stop working about 15 minutes from the center of town. I travel a lot and my cell phone is my connection to my customers and my family. Right now I pay $110 for my phone from Verizon. If I could pay another $5 and never have to worrry about overage charges I would.

As the article says, this could also force costs down. If every company offers an unlimited plan it is easier for the majority of the population to determine were you get the best deal ($90 vs $100 for unlimted minutes or $60 for 900 minutes vs $70 1200 minutes). This should force companies to lower costs until they are at a reasinable place. Again I for one would be happy to sign up for a nationwide unlimited plan.

Cheaper than it is now! (1)

glorpy (527947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346349)

Cingular/AT&T wants $299.99/month for a voice only family plan with 6000 minutes.
Verizon wants $199.99/month for a voice only single person plan.
Sprint/Nextel makes you call to get rates for plans over 2000 minutes.

In all three cases, SMS and data are extra charges (unlimited SMS typically runs $20 and unlimited data is in the realm of $45, but requires cell company provided equipment).

By comparison, $115-$150 would be a tremendous price drop for the US market!

$150? Probably will not happen in Canada (1)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346453)

I am already paying $115 CDN for my BlackBerry voice and data plan through Rogers. What do I get? 350 minutes during the day (rounded UP to the minute, no per-second billing), unlimited evenings from 6 pm to 8 am, and umlimited weekends.

I also get one of Rogers' unlimited* data plans for the BlackBerry.

*Their unlimited data plan is actually just 25MB, with fine print reading "Rogers has the right to charge for excess use over 25 MB".

My friend has a mobile phone service from the US but lives in Canada for about a year now. She has LOTS of long distance voice and data included for roughly $60 USD - no roaming charges. Similar plan from Rogers, most cost-effective? About $300.

Canada sucks, because the big 3 mobile telcos have an oligopoly that nobody cares to regulate.

If we EVER get an unlimited plan, it will be in the neighbourhood of $150+ for voice only. Data? SMS? I'm sure it'll be over $200. Unless companies like Solo Mobile or Virgin, the small guys, start offering some competitive plans.

MetroPCS and Amp'd (1)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346711)

Well,

$50/mo, Unlimited local, long distance, text, picturemail, web browsing. Add on $2 for unlimited 411. And, no contract. Downside.. price for phones.

Amp'd, which uses verizon's network (a MVNO), $119/mo for unlimited voice and data... and you can use it as a modem for your laptop, using the verizon network (as compared to dialing into an ISP at 14.4). It goes up to $150 if you need unlimited text.

Is this guy daft? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346739)

This reminds me of those travel channel shows where they show these obscenely expensive homes and say "more and more americans are buying homes like these".

is this guy daft? he sounds like the cloistered elite that run sony when he talks about this price point... i think he actually believes the average person can afford that!

my immediate family income is quite a bit over median and if $100 a month were the only option we'd go without.

so... unless we'll be getting cost of living increases in aggregate, then that price point simply will not fly.
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