Sprint Promises Simply Everything, and Delivers

In the last week, all four major wireless network operators in the US have announced "unlimited" plans for $99 per month. What does that mean, and who are these plans for?

In the last week, all four major wireless network operators in the US have announced "unlimited" plans for $99 per month. What does that mean, and who are these plans for?

It may not seem like new calling plan options are groundbreaking news, but these announcements are. Last week, Verizon Wireless announced a new $99 plan that includes unlimited voice minutes per month. AT&T (http://www.att.com) followed Verizon's move within two hours. Towards the end of the same day, T-Mobile chimed in with its own unlimited plan, but added unlimited text, picture and instant messages as well. This one-upped the offerings from AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Today, Sprint beat them all.

Sprint's new "Simply Everything" plan really does include everything. For $99 per month, not only will Sprint customers get unlimited voice minutes and messaging, but also unlimited mobile data, mobile Web, mobile e-mail, and access to the Sprint Music, Sprint TV, GPS services, and DirectConnect services. Wow. That's a heck of a deal.

Unlimited voice minutes really is a talk-all-you-want concept, with free long distance in the U.S. But unlimited voice minutes are not for everyone. Before running out and signing up for these new plans, it would be wise to examine your general mobile usage. How many minutes do you already pay for per month? Do you exceed those minutes regularly and find yourself paying overage charges? Then perhaps upping your minute allotment is a good idea.

These plans really are for serious talkers. For example, a former boss of mine regularly talked on his phone for 1500 minutes a month during peak hours. He paid well over $100 per month for that many minutes. These new unlimited plans are ideal for people like him.

They also could serve to quell any last hesitations people might feel about ditching your landline altogether. Consider this. Most landline telephone bills cost about $40 per month. Most wireless bills cost about $55. That's $95. For $4 more, you have total freedom from worrying about talking too much.

The offer from Sprint should be especially appealing to users of its DirectConnect push-to-talk walkie-talkie service, as it is included in the unlimited bundle.

Obviously your practice or office phone lines need to remain in place. But if you find yourself fielding calls and using a mobile device to manage certain aspects of your practice around the clock, then maybe going the unlimited route is a good plan.