Alltel, Verizon Blend DNA for Friends and Family Plans

Proud new Alltel owner Verizon Wireless is getting a gene splice from its recent acquisition, announcing this week a “Friends & Family” feature that lets customers identify five or 10 numbers for a calling group.

Just like Alltel’s My Circle feature, minutes used when placing or receiving calls to anyone in the calling group won’t count against customers’ plan minutes. Customers also can include landline numbers or wireless numbers from other carriers.

“This is a milestone in the industry,” said Mike Lanman, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “For the first time our customers can take control over their personal calling plans, build it to suit their needs yet still reap the benefits of being on the nation’s most reliable wireless network. And since there are no long distance charges, those numbers can be anywhere in the country. There is no charge to sign up and no charge, ever, to make changes to their Friends & Family calling directory.”

It should be noted that T-Mobile USA offers a similar plan. Remember back before Charles Barkley’s “traffic violation,” when he was a fixture in the T-Mobile spots promoting its myFaves feature? Dwayne Wade was forever trying to get into his “five.”

Eligible Verizon customers are those that have a nationwide Single Line plan with 900 ($59.99 per month) or more anytime minutes or a nationwide Family SharePlan with 1,400 or more anytime minutes ($89.99).

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