Sound Off - Industry Insiders on Unlimited Rate Plans

Here's what members of the wireless industry are saying about Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA all announcing on Feb. 19 that they would offer consumers an unlimited rate plan at $99 per month. Sound off on your own opinion in our comments section below.

"We believe in unlimited. We believe we were the first with an unlimited rate plan with our My Circle 10 rate plan.

"The sweet spot for wireless voice is around $50 per month. We weren't maximizing the potential of My Circle by having entry point of $59 so we lowered it to $49. That's where the action will be." -- Frank O'Mara, chief marketing officer, Alltel

"When we announced it [the unlimited voice plan for $99 per month], we were on airwaves and on radio. We also sent out mailers about it. So our approach was 60 to 90 days in the making. We timed this to be first to market."

"There's been a lot of hullabaloo about flat rate but few customers have rate plans over $99. There is some revenue risk to some customers."

"We think that our network has significant differentiation. All carriers say that but if you talk to firms that do research, we have an advantage. We are in a greater position to attract customers in that range. The early results are great. Our stores are seeing excellent reaction to it. A couple other carriers announced unlimited plans. I suggest you go to their stores and ask what they are. They are different. The announcement was the same but they are different." -- Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications speaking at a Merrill Lynch Communications conference in New York on Feb. 26.

"Unlimited is the right value proposition for us and for the customer. We have had regional players come into unlimited space in the past years but generally haven't seen the bigger carriers do it. We haven't seen this [the unlimited rate plans for $99 per month] as a particular threat because of pricing differential." -Greg Lund, spokesman for Leap Wireless.

"What we are seeing is the beginning of the flip-flopping of fixed-rate services from data to voice and the pay-for-use model being deployed in the data world. This makes a lot of sense to me since data uses a lot more bandwidth than voice and bandwidth is shared-which means there is a finite amount per cell sector.

"I think Verizon started the unlimited voice pricing high enough that it has room to move it lower in response to the pricing war this is certain to set off. In the airline business, when one airline raises a price, the other airlines match that price. In wireless, however, when a network operator lowers a price or comes out with a new plan (family plan, buddy plan, etc.) the other operators try to outdo the first operator. For example, AT&T came up with rollover minutes.

"Thus, this is only the first foray into new pricing models this industry will witness in the coming months and years. Buckets of minutes will give way to unlimited minutes, the cost for unlimited minutes will come down and we are likely to see pricing per person and per family, which will include multiple devices used by the same person or within the same family. By the way, Verizon was the first to say that this unlimited plan is probably not right for most families who share minutes and pay less for each additional device, but it might be right in some cases. That does not mean there won't be other unlimited pricing plans for families and friends in the near future." --Andrew Seybold, founder and principal of Andrew Seybold Inc.