Alltel jumps on unlimited bandwagon

Bowing to pressure from Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA, Alltel has introduced an unlimited voice plan called Freedom Unlimited for $99 per month. But that doesn't mean the company is forgoing its popular MyCircle rate plans, which it first introduced in 2006. Alltel's MyCircle plans offer unlimited calling to a certain number of specific phone numbers for a flat fee. For example, for $59 per month, customers get unlimited access to 10 numbers. According to Laura Cook, senior vice president of marketing communications at Alltel, the company still firmly believes that the MyCircle plans provide customers with choice and value. 

Alltel's decision to jump on the unlimited calling bandwagon for $99 per month is somewhat surprising. When FierceWireless talked to Alltel CMO Frank O'Mara a few weeks ago when Verizon Wireless debuted its unlimited calling plan, he said that the operator was going to stick with its My Circle rate plans and was in no hurry to join the others.

Specifically, he said that Alltel believed that the "sweet spot" for wireless voice was around $50 per month and the company found that when it launched its MyCircle rate plan in 2006 offering unlimited calling to 10 numbers for $59, the plan attracted existing customers but not new customers. However, when the company launched its second MyCircle rate plan for $49, it saw a lot more traction from new customers.

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