AT&T Unifies Landline, Wireless Customers With New Plan

Seeking to further leverage the benefits of its wireless, landline and business assets, AT&T has created an unlimited calling plan that allows for free calls among a community of more than 100 million phone numbers.

The plan, called AT&T Unity, is the first major product offering announced since AT&T completed its acquisition of BellSouth Corp. and consolidated Cingular Wireless, which it is rebranding as the new AT&T.

In the three weeks since the deal's completion, AT&T has indicated that its strategy will be to bundle services as a way of maximizing the benefits of its large customer base both to customers and to marketers and advertisers, in order to help it compete with cable TV providers who also offer phone services.

Unity allows customers who pay for both AT&T's home or business $50-per-month unlimited local and long-distance calling plan and its $59.99-per-month unlimited wireless plan to make or receive calls for free (without using minutes). This represents a massive in-network calling benefit to its customers that tops rival carrier's "faves" plans, which let wireless customers call up to 10 landline or mobile numbers at no additional charge--or in-network plans, which let customers speak for free to anyone else on the same carrier network.

Regional provider Qwest Communications already offers free calls between customers' home and cell phones.

"AT&T Unity is the ideal way to introduce our customers to the real power of combining wireless and wireline services into an appealing offering," Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. said in a statement. "With AT&T Unity, we are raising the bar even higher."

The company has said that half its Cingular customers already use AT&T landline services, and has said it anticipates reduced customer churn because of the freedom and value of the Unity plan, and the added convenience of one bill.

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