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Verizon Wireless Adopts Alltels MyCircle Affering - Albeit At Higher Prices

Alltel Communications L.L.C customers can relax; Verizon Wireless announced it will offer its own version of Alltel’s long-standing MyCircle calling plan, just with a different name.

Ever since Verizon Wireless announced it would acquire Alltel, customers and industry watchers began to wonder if the regional carrier’s MyCircle offering would disappear.

No more. Verizon Wireless said beginning Feb. 15 all customers can enroll in its new Friends & Family feature, which allows users to pick five or 10 off-network numbers to place unlimited calls to. The feature also covers landline numbers.

Eligible single-line rate plans begin at $60 per month for 900 anytime calling minutes and allow customers to choose five Friends & Family numbers, while family plans begin at $90 per month for 1,400 anytime minutes and allow customers to choose 10 Friends & Family numbers, to be shared across the multiple lines. Verizon Wireless said it expects to expand the offering to business customers later this quarter.

However, this might be upsetting to Alltel customers who enjoyed MyCircle for lower rates. The carrier includes MyCircle with unlimited calling to five numbers in its $50 per month plan, which included 750 anytime minutes. Alltel also allows its customers to add up to 10 and 20 MyCircle numbers to its individual plans.

“On Alltel you get 10 numbers for $59.99, Verizon gives you five numbers for $59.99. On Alltel you get 20 numbers for $99.99, Verizon gives you 10 for $89.99," said an Alltel spokesman.

T-Mobile USA Inc. is the only other major carrier to offer a similar feature, dubbed MyFaves. T-Mobile USA’s MyFaves offering is available at some level on all individual plans for a $10 per month premium.

Alltel also offers unlimited messaging to MyCircle numbers for an additional monthly fee. Verizon Wireless did not comment on whether this option would become available under Friends & Family.

Source: RCRWireless

Added: 02/12/2009