The PhoneBoy Blog


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Unity Isn’t Cheap

It occurred to me as I was reading Andy Abramson’s wonderful piece on AT&T new Unity calling plan along with the Unity press release that Unity isn’t going to be a good deal for most people, but I’m sure there will be a bunch of people converting to it that don’t need to.

Let’s run the numbers. According to the press release, in order to be eligible for the Unity calling plan, you must:

  • Be subscribed to AT&T’s landline service in their 22-state region.
  • Be subscribed to an unlimited AT&T/Bellsouth wireline local and long distance plan, which costs approximately $50 a month (presumably before taxes and surcharges)
  • Be subscribed to Cingular a wireless plan from AT&T starting at $60 a month (before taxes and surcharges).

Based on my own experience, I am going to guess that the taxes and surcharges for both services will run approximately $15. Your mileage may vary, of course.

So we’re looking at, a minimum, of $125 a month to MaBell for what, exactly?

  • Unlimited domestic long distance from your landline.
  • Unlimited calling to any AT&T landline or wireless customer from your mobile phone.
  • Some number of minutes of domestic long distance to call non-AT&T customers. Starting at 900 minutes for a standalone wireless plan, 700 minutes for a family (multiple wireless lines sharing minutes) plan.
  • A single bill, presumably.

Even if I did live in AT&T country, which I don’t, that is a terrible deal for us. Our landline bill is approximately $45-50 a month (including taxes).  We spend approximately $10 a month on wireless service (pre-paid T-Mobile), including taxes.

I suppose if you make a TON of phone calls, this might be a good deal. For personal use, anyway, we don’t. Even for business purposes, I don’t make a ton of calls. And even so, I don’t see those bills except for the occasional $10 I throw at Skype or Gizmo for business calls.

While I do agree with Andy this is ultimately a good thing for the consumer, and certainly a good thing for AT&T, make sure you do the math for yourself to make sure it truly is a good deal for you.

Maybe AT&T will offer the Unity wireless calling plans to people outside of their landline territory.  It would certainly make their service offering just a bit more compelling. Certainly a good next step. Oh yeah, and maybe encourage people to drop their landline service and going totally wireless. There’s a way to take a shot across the bow of Qwest, Verizon, and the other little phone companies out there.


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