updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu November 1, 2007
Verizon Lower Data Rates
Second-largest American cellular carrier Verizon today announced a new structure for its data services that could provide the company's phones with better data services ahead of the LG Voyager and other Internet-centric, but non-smartphone, devices aimed at Apple's iPhone. The provider has eliminated the minimum $5 charge for its Mobile Web access on Nationwide plans; any device with a 1XRTT or EVDO Internet connection can now use some services without incurring extra data charges, such as the V CAST music store or VZ Navigator assisted GPS mapping. Costs are also potentially lower for users who only occasionally use data, Verizon says: users of the most basic plans are charged $2 per megabyte and can pay that minimum amount for browsing, e-mail, or downloading common add-ons like ringtones.
But the real value exists in the data packages, the company explains. A $15 monthly V Pak for the mid-tier Select voice plans of $60 or higher now provides unlimited data, including unlimited downloadable (but not streamed) video content. A separate plan offers unlimited text messaging for $20. Combining both into a single bundle costs $40 beyond the calling plan but includes unlimited access to VZ Navigator. Switching either to these unlimited plans or the new Mobile Web service does not require extending any existing contract.
While unlimited smartphone rates are unchanged at $45 per month and are in line with AT&T's service, the move puts Verizon's Internet access into closer competition with that from AT&T, particularly for the iPhone and other devices that qualify for unlimited data without requiring a more expensive smartphone plan. Apple's handset currently requires a minimum $60 monthly fee but includes AT&T's $20 unlimited Internet access as part of the subscription.
Separately, Verizon also reintroduced a Canada roaming plan. The $20 extra fee allows frequent business travelers or vacationers to use their normal service plans on Bell Canada or Telus networks without additional fees. No information is yet available as to whether this includes Internet access, though the plan should be optional as of today.