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Direct Comparison: Messaging and Web Options

Cingular: Text messages cost 10 cents each, $2.99 for 100 messages or $9.99 for 750. Basic Web access ("MEdia Basic") costs $7.99 (including 250 text messages, 50 multimedia messages and 1 megabyte of data use; additional use adds 1 cent/kilobyte). High-speed access ("MEdia Net"), up to 40 or 135 kbps depending on phone model, costs $2.99 for 500 kb of use or $9.99 for 2 MB; additional use adds 1 cent/kb.

Nextel: Text messages cost 15 cents each, or $7.50 for unlimited use. Basic Web access costs $3.50 plus airtime (text messages cost 10 cents each), $10 for "Premium" Web access (airtime included, adds unlimited text messaging), or $15/month for open Web access (airtime and unlimited text messaging included). Download speeds up to 22 kbps.

_____Special Report_____
2004 Guide to Wireless Phone Phone Plans Compare rates and coverage for Washington, D.C., area.
What Do You Do With a Broken Phone?
Fast Forward: How to Shop for Service
_____Service Details_____
Cingular Wireless
Sprint PCS
Verizon Wireless
_____Direct Comparisons_____
'Real World' Costs
Fine Print
Messaging and Web Options
Reviewer's Notes

Direct Connect use among more than two people costs 15 cents/minute per person except on National Team Share plans (where it's taken out of Direct Connect allowance). Group Direct Connect in home region only.

Sprint: Text messages cost 1 cent/kilobyte, or $5/unlimited. $15 "Vision" plan adds unlimited text messages, wireless Web access and picture sharing; download speeds up to 144 kbps. "ReadyLink" walkie-talkie service between compatible Sprint phones adds $10.

T-Mobile: Text messages 5 cents each, or $2.99 for 300 messages, $6.99 for 1,000 messages. Web access costs $4.99 and requires GPRS phone; download speeds up to 54 kbps.

Verizon: Text messages cost 2 cents each incoming, 10 cents each outgoing, or $2.99 for 100 messages, $4.99 for 250 messages, $9.99 for 1,000 messages or $19.99 for 2,500. Picture and video messages cost extra. "Mobile Web" access costs $7.99 (including 500 text messages); download speeds up to 144 kbps. Walkie-talkie service available between compatible phones, with plans starting at $59.99.

-- John Breeden II

© 2004 The Washington Post Company