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Digital Inspiration - The Tech Guide

Thursday, January 18, 2007

AT&T Plans ‘Unity’ Strategy for Free Calls
Only weeks after closing its deal for BellSouth, AT&T is embarking on an ambitious strategy to show customers the benefit of its owning 100 million phone lines.
In an announcement expected Friday, AT&T will introduce AT&T Unity, a pricing package that allows its cellular customers to call any AT&T landline customer without incurring additional usage fees or using their wireless minutes. While AT&T wireless customers can already call each other free, the new plan will extend the program on a large scale to landline customers, enlarging what AT&T likes to call its “community.”
To subscribe to a AT&T Unity plan, a customer would need to have AT&T wireless service as well as a landline plan that offered unlimited local and long-distance service. AT&T’s unlimited local and long-distance landline service starts at $40 a month if bought online.
The pricing plan comes weeks after AT&T closed its $85.8 billion acquisition of BellSouth, the largest telecommunications merger in history. With the merger, AT&T became the sole owner of Cingular Wireless, and on Monday the company dropped the Cingular brand in favor of the AT&T name. AT&T previously owned 60 percent of Cingular, and BellSouth owned 40 percent. The combined company offers wireless and landline service in 22 states.
Other wireless carriers, like T-Mobile with its myFaves option, already allow customers to call landline numbers free, but those are typically restricted to a handful of designated numbers. AT&T’s strategy is a logical step in telecommunications marketing, Mr. Winther said, following on the popularity of bundled packages that combine phone, broadband and cable services on one bill.
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posted by RK, 9:09 PM


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