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An Almost Flat Rate for Cell Phone Service

Boot Camp feature for Monday, May 1, 2006

An almost flat rate for cell phone service. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Wireless carriers like Sprint, Verizon Wireless, Cingular and T-Mobile….for years have had plans that allow in network unlimited calling. Now, Alltel, the smallest of the top five wireless carriers in the U.S...is taking it a step further. Company president Kevin Beebe says it's a feature called My Circle…

"My Circle is really all about giving customers even more choice in how they take advantage of wireless services. Essentially what it will allow our customers to do is to select as many as ten phone numbers, it could be phone numbers connected to any wireless network or any wireline network. They will be hopefully the phone numbers they call the most often. Those phone numbers, for a customer, they can make calls to those phone numbers with no charge. In other words, we will include those phone numbers as part of their mobile to mobile package. It's rather innovative. No one in our industry has given customers this kind of flexibility. In addition, they'll be able to change their My Circle list daily on our Web site if they so choose."

Alltel is including the feature in wireless service plans that cost 60 dollars a month or more. The company plans to begin a national advertising campaign for the first time…in a bid to win customers from its rivals. Most of Alltel's service territory is rural….but for consumers elsewhere….they can hope that the My Circle idea will spread to other carriers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.