Alltel Offers Free Wireless Calling to Ten User-Selected Numbers
America's number 5 wireless carrier, Alltel, recently launched a new perk for high usage customers, allowing those who pay .95 or more for monthly service to make free calls to 10 pre-selected phone numbers.
Each qualified user can pick up to 10 frequently called (local or domestic long distance) numbers, and receive unlimited anytime calling as a free addition to their plan. This new feature, dubbed "My Circle," is designed to eliminate the annoying overage charges of up to .45/minute that customers face after they've use up their airtime for the month.
For those users who don't exceed their monthly limits, this won't result in the service costing any less (they still need to meet the .95 requirement), but the ability to talk to one's family and friends freely, without the worry of extra charges, will likely attract many new users.
Alltel currently has 10.6 million subscribers in 36 states, and operates mostly in small to mid-sized markets, with the exception of a few major cities.
Most major wireless providers have offered similar bargains on calling certain numbers (e.g. subscribers on the same network), but Alltel is the first to take the drastic step of letting users pick their own "Circle" and call those people for free, anytime.
In many ways, this could be a very smart business decision for Alltel. Not only will it be an extra draw for new users, but it could even prompt some existing subscribers to upgrade to a /month plan, "just to be safe."
(Originally published by TeleClick.ca on April 22, 2006)
About the Author: Jeremy Maddock is a well-known technology blogger who specializes in telecommunications news, and cell phone information.