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Sprint Unveils Any Mobile, Anytime; Kills Calling Circles

Sprint users paying $69.99 can now call any U.S. wireless number unlimited

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Sprint
Image © Sprint
Updated September 11, 2009
Sprint on Sept. 9, 2009 teased to Sprint Premier customers (who’ve been loyal with the cell phone carrier for a long time) “something big”. At midnight that night, the revelation indeed came in the name of Sprint “Any Mobile, Anytime”.

Sprint has been offering unlimited “mobile-to-mobile” or “Sprint-to-Sprint” calling so its customers can call other Sprint users for free without being docked anytime minutes. This is considered a restrictive “calling circle” that’s currently free on Sprint plans above $39.99 a month (and used to cost extra).

Other cell phone carriers offer a similar feature. They also allow various enhancements such as T-Mobile permitting you to call five people unlimited on any network with a “myFaves” plan. AT&T just unveiled this, too, and Verizon Wireless also offers such a pick-your-numbers feature.

But Sprint Any Mobile, Anytime changes the game. It allows you to call and receive calls from any cell phone on any cell phone network in the U.S. unlimited for free. You’re not limited to just one network or one calling circle.

By Sprint’s count, that’s unlimited access to 250 million mobile phones in the United States.

The feature is now automatically added to the Sprint Everything Data plan at either the $69.99 (with 450 anytime minutes) or $89.99 (with 900 anytime minutes) price points. The plan also comes with unlimited text messaging and data.

But how can you have unlimited calling to any cell phone and still have 450 or 900 minutes?

Sprint apparently expects you to dig into this announcement’s fine print. Also, don’t confuse yourself by reading some of the other stories that have sprung up on the Web about this.

The key with Sprint Any Mobile, Anytime is that the “unlimited” minutes (outgoing and incoming) must be used to and from other cell phones and while on the Sprint network, which means not while roaming and not while calling landlines. In other words, the only way you can now use a single anytime minute from the $69.99 or $89.99 plan is if you’re calling a landline or roaming.

So, should you switch to the $69.99 or $89.99 Everything Data plan with 450 or 900 minutes if you’re currently on Sprint’s all-unlimited Simply Everything plan for $99.99? Seriously consider it, because so long as you’re not in a roaming frenzy or calling a lot of landlines, you’d be saving $30 or $10 a month.

But be careful: Sprint has released the following very important “usage limitation” disclosure in the fine print of the Any Mobile, Anytime enhancement: “Sprint may terminate service if (1) more than 800 minutes, (2) a majority of minutes or (3) a majority of kilobytes in a given month are used while roaming.”

Though roaming is traditionally free with Sprint, it therefore becomes an issue if you downgrade from Simply Everything to Everything Data and end up roaming more than 800 minutes per month or calling landlines more than 450 or 900 minutes a month. But if not, Sprint Everything Data for $69.99 or $89.99 with the free Any Mobile, Anytime feature can be considered revolutionary and is an industry first.

The Any Mobile, Anytime enhancement will likely cause a defection from the Sprint $99.99 plan to its $69.99 or $89.99 plan. Sprint would be well-served, though, to provide users with an analysis of mobile-to-mobile calls versus landline calls to help in the decision of whether or not to downgrade from the $99.99 plan. It currently does not.

Keep in mind that even an all-unlimited Sprint plan for $69.99 (if the roaming or landline issues don’t put you in a pickle) can’t beat an all-unlimited prepaid wireless plan from Boost Mobile for $50 a month, PlatinumTel for $50, Cricket for $45 and Straight Talk for $45. The official Sprint Any Mobile, Anytime Web sites can be found here and here.

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