Verizon Wireless is preparing a new line of service plans that offer unlimited mobile phone calling for $99 per month, Engadget reports. This would replace the $99 plan Verizon currently offers, which includes 2000 minutes per month, as well as more expensive plans, like 4000 minutes for $149 or 6000 minutes for $199.
If true, this makes plenty of sense. Carriers are now looking for growth from selling data services — like messaging, email service, mobile Web access, mobile TV, etc. — not plain-vanilla phone service.
But we don’t think there will be much demand for the new plans. According to the most recent stats reported by the FCC, U.S. wireless subscribers used about 714 mobile phone minutes per month in late 2006, up less than 1% from the same period in 2005. Even if none of those calls were placed during free nights/weekends calling periods, they’d be covered by a $60, 900 minutes-per-month Verizon plan.
And most customers aren’t spending anything like $100 a month of phone calls. Last quarter, the average Verizon Wireless subscriber spent about $40 per month on mobile phone calls — enough for a 450-minute monthly plan, including unlimited, free calls at night and on weekends — plus another $11 on data services.
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