It's official: As of today, all four major national carriers now offer unlimited calling plans. Two weeks ago, Sprint announced a $119.99 a month Unlimited Access Pack available in select markets, but today Verizon, AT&T, and now T-Mobile have all matched it with an astounding triple-whammy announcement that all three will offer nationwide unlimited calling plans for only $99.99 a month. Verizon kicked it off this morning with its unlimited plan announcement, followed by AT&T a few hours later, and T-Mobile finishing it off a few hours after that. We won't be surprised if Sprint Nextel responds by offering a $99.99 unlimited plan as well.
The unlimited plans differ from carrier to carrier. The $99.99 a month plan with Verizon is just for a basic single-line calling plan; if you wish to get unlimited text messaging and unlimited data, that will cost you $119.99 or $139.99 a month respectively. The Sprint plan has $119.99 a month for unlimited everything--calls, text messages, as well as data. AT&T's $99.99 a month plan seems to only cover phone calls, while the T-Mobile plans covers phone calls as well as text messages. Sprint is available now in selected markets, while Verizon's is available nationwide right now. AT&T will have its unlimited plan available on February 22 and T-Mobile will start its unlimited plan on February 21.
Other flat rate plans are available with smaller MVNO carriers of course--Helio announced a $99 a month plan two weeks ago, for example. But this is the first time all four major national carriers offer unlimited calling plans at such low rates. This is an incredible coup for mobile power users in the U.S. who previously had to suffer high roaming charges and pricey premium packages. In fact, if you're one of the ever-growing number of Americans who are without a landline and rely on your mobile phone, then the unlimited plans are a no-brainer.
The rate at which these unlimited plans are announced do indicate a potential price war between the carriers, as the number of mobile phone owners increase, and the space becomes congested with consumers all vying for the best bang for their buck. But if all this increased competition means a lower monthly bill, well, I'm all for it. For now.