The constant commoditization of basic voice service offerings by wireless carrier continues unabated. In a pretty remarkable day yesterday, Verizon Wireless, followed by ATT, followed by T-Mobile all offered unlimited talk plans for a flat rate of $99.99. T-Mobile also threw in unlimited text messaging as a part of the plan.
And today, there is a talk of Sprint undercutting the price by as much as 40% – to gain net subscribers from other wireless providers.
There is obviously talk in the marketplace about what percentage of wireless subscribers would it actually impact – given only about 5% of subscribers use minutes worth more than a hundred dollars every month.
But critical factors like a stagnating economy (which will presumably be another factor for people to cut the cord), more reliability in mobile coverage etc – might act as inducements for subscribers to take advantage of the plan.
The bigger story though is this – this is yet another step to voice eventually being a commodity offering as a part of a set of services that will include converged services like multimedia, location based and transactional services.
Voice would eventually be low margin (but critical) offering to complete the package of connectivity.Most of the revenue growth that the big telecoms are banking on would be driven by these value add services. And that’s where the viability of next generation technologies like Wimax and LTE become absolutely critical to the success and growth of telecom companies.
In the interim, sit back and enjoy the telecoms duke it out for customer mind share. And get used to the idea that soon – none of us might have to count our “anytime” minutes anymore.