Sprint announced their new Anymobile plan today, and the other telecom providers will have no choice but to follow suit, and soon, before they start to lose customers (especially on the young end) in droves. Basically, the plan allows customers with an Everything Data plan (certainly, owners of the new Pre fall into that bucket) with any number of minutes (as low as 450) to get unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling regardless of network. With Sprint’s announcement, there is increased incentive to use mobile phones exclusively, and landlines are consequently marginalized even further. With existing Sprint users getting automatically migrated to this plan, the behavior shift may be significant, as long-time landline users will rapidly begin to curtail their use, and eventually question the existence, of their landlines.
If the other telecom providers quickly copy Sprint’s move (and I expect they will), this could cause a real disruption for market researchers, and a discontinuous jump in mobile phone-only households. It also, however, will likely cause a corresponding rise in the number of households with a mobile data plan (required for Anymobile) which opens doors for market researchers even while others are closed by a potentially precipitous drop in landline-based research.