Cell Phone Plans- a Review of Alltel Offerings

By: Christine Peppler

Alltel is one of several major US wireless companies providing cell phone plans with nationwide coverage. Although well established, names like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are better known, if for no other reason than their active television and internet marketing campaigns.

Consumers considering Alltel plans will have a good selection of phones from which to choose, including a variety of Blackberry, Motorola RAZR, Moto Q, Palm Treo, and poplar LG models. Alltel offers the full range of Individual, Family and Prepaid cell phone plans.

Alltel's individual cell phone plans start as low as $39.99 with a basic National Freedom plan, which allows 500 anytime minutes, unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, the My Circle feature, and free nationwide long distance in available areas. Alltel's My Circle feature gives users free calling for 10 numbers which can be on any network, anywhere in the US, at any time. Such calls do not subtract from the available anytime minutes in the plan.

Although the coverage area is broad, coverage appears to be best in the southeast and very sparse in Alaska, Maine and in small areas throughout the western US. In addition, nationwide roaming charges of 59 cents per minute are incurred in certain pockets of the country, so verifying coverage before committing to a plan is wise.

Alltel's cell phone plans also include choices with greater long distance options however. For instance, their North American Freedom plans offer no roaming for calls in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, and calls to those countries are toll-free.

Alltel's plans allow users to pick up additional lines for as low as $9.99 per month. Again, the family cell phone plans start as low as $39.99 with a single line and move upwards to $199.99. Plans such as the My Circle Family Premier Plan offer a free second line, in addition to 2200 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends, mobile-to-mobile calling, and unlimited texting for $139.99.

Their Prepaid cell phone plans run either pay-per-day, pay-per-month, or pay-per-minute. The pay-per-day plans feature anytime minutes at 10 cents per minute, text messaging at 10 cents per minute, picture messaging at 25 cents per minute, and nationwide roaming at 59 cents per minute. Users get 2 features at 75 cents per day, 3 features for $1.00 a day, or 4 features for $1.25 per day.

The pay-per-month prepaid plans are a bit more straightforward. They offer 2oo anytime minutes and 1000 night and weekend minutes for $29.99 per month, 400 anytime minutes and 2000 night and weekend minutes for $39.99 per month, or 700 anytime minutes, unlimited night and weekend, mobile to mobile calling, and text messaging all for $69.99 per month.

For pure simplicity, the pay per minute plan charges 15 cents per minute on all calls. All prepaid cell phone plans at Alltel can be paid by credit card via the phone or online or through a replenishment card which can be purchased at a variety of locations including Wal-Mart.

As anyone with a cell phone plan knows, tracking usage can be important to avoid the expense of using out of plan minutes. Tracking the usage of minutes and text messaging is simple via phone, text message, or online. The Alltel site provides easy-to-understand instructions on everything from how to block unwanted calls to how to activate the No Answer Transfer feature to roll unanswered call to another number. Certainly, Alltel offers the full range of features for wireless customers. Text messaging, TV, Radio, video, and other services are all available.

A final consideration for many consumers is customer service. JDPower.com offers customer satisfaction survey results from recent surveys for public viewing on their website. In looking at their published results it appears that Alltel generally falls in the "about average" category for prepaid and more traditional cell phone plans although they took top honors in the southeast for call quality, billing, and service options.

Cell Phones
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