Cingular Wireless is spending big to attract customers with Rollover Minutes. But what's carrying unused minutes into future months worth to you?
What sounds like a price decrease really isn't, says Gartner Inc. analyst Bryan Prohm, because the nation's second-largest carrier hiked prices before the rollout. Also, this plan has the usual gaggle of restrictions. Rollover Minutes is only on local calling plans, and you must sign up for at least 600 peak and 3,000 off-peak minutes for $39.99 per month with a $36 activation fee and a $150 termination fee. Long distance is included, but roaming costs 79 cents per minute.
Rollover Minutes could save you if your usage varies monthly, because you can bank minutes for up to a year. Get a lower-minute plan and build a cushion for when you get chatty. Wireless users waste hundreds of minutes a month, reports research firm J.D. Power.
Will this idea catch on with other carriers? Probably not, says Prohm. AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon say they won't roll out rollovers. Instead, says Prohm, they'll dangle cheaper rates and/or bigger buckets of minutes in front of you.
San Francisco-based Erik P. Nelson is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur.