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U.S. Cellular hops on unlimited bandwagon

When we look at the week of February 18, 2008, it will be the week of unlimited. First it was Verizon, then AT&T and T-Mobile, all offering plans starting at $99. And then it was rumors that Sprint would undercut them all at $60 — though that is denied by the company (did you expect anything else?). So we’ve heard Cricket and MetroPCS mentioned a lot this week. Now another prepaid carrier is coming to the party: U.S. Cellular. They’ll soon begin offering a $99 unlimited calling plan.

“We recognize that cell phones are critical to helping customers keep connected with the people and activities that matter most to them,” said Jay Ellison, executive vice president and COO of U.S. Cellular.

Not sure what that has to do with unlimited calling…

Anyway, text messaging will cost you extra with this one. You can get an unlimited one for $14.95, and a data plan for $9.99. So all told, you could be looking at a $125 monthly bill.

Here’s the thing, though: U.S. Cellular has an $80 plan that is all but unlimited. You get 1,000 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends — and incoming calls are free. With Talk Tracker, incoming text messages are free, too, which doesn’t seem to be the case for the unlimited plan. From the press release:

“The company also offers a wide variety of plans that include unlimited free incoming calls and texts.”

The implication being that this is not the case with unlimited.

So it’s nice to see more players in this unlimited game. Unfortunately, with U.S. Cellular, it appears you might be able to make out better with their other plans.

[U.S. Cellular]