updated 05:20 pm EST, Mon February 26, 2007
Sprint Unlimited Access
Sprint on Monday revealed an early form of its new Unlimited Access Pack, a service plan designed to compete against Helio and other virtual network operators who focus on live video streaming and other Internet-heavy cellphone use. The deal gives subscribers effectively unrestricted access to all of the US carrier's phone-related services, including data-intensive Internet access and text messaging, for $120 per month. A separate plan including home PC access is also ready for $150 per month, the company says.
While limited to a trial in the San Francisco area, the service could have a "grenade blast" effect on virtually every American cellphone and landline provider, according to Current Analysis researcher William Ho. Few large carriers offer completely unrestricted service at a discount -- making Sprint's offering the first complete landline replacement in the US, the analyst says. It may also affect the adoption rate of smartphones in the country, which are often hobbled by expensive data services. A definitive nation-wide launch for the Access Pack depends on the success of the trial.