When one of the major carriers announces new calling plans, we’re all interested to see how it will affect us. For those not with the carrier, we want to see if the new plans offer a better deal than our current carrier. For those with the carrier, we want to see how the plans will affect our monthly bill. Word leaked yesterday, and today Verizon Wireless announced a new rate schedule. The plans look simpler — there’s no more “Select Basic” or “America’s Choice” or anything fancy like that. With the new rate schedule, it’s just individual, family, and prepaid. After looking over the changes, though, it doesn’t appear this will help a lot of customers. If might end up even raising your monthly bill eventually.
Customers using Verizon’s unlimited plan gain the most. The price for unlimited talk used to be $99.99 with no additional features, but under the new plan unlimited talk and text runs $89.99. The talk-only plan costs $20 less. In fact, all plans can add unlimited messaging for $20 per month. That might end up being a problem for customers down the road.
I do not need unlimited messaging. Sure, I send texts like everyone else, but I used to fit nicely into Verizon’s $10 texting plan, which included unlimited mobile to mobile texts and 500 otherwise. It appears that option has disappeared. Maybe it’s still around, hidden in the system. Who knows? But from the announcement and the leak, I see nothing but the unlimited option. So, when I renew my contract (because I’ll want the latest BlackBerry), I’ll be out another $10 per month.
Speaking of out $10 per month, customers who purchase what Verizon dubs “3G Multimedia” phones will also need to purchase a $10/month data package. So if you plan to get the LG Chocolate Tough, Motorola Rival, LG enV3, Samsung Rogue, LG enV Touch, Samsung Alias2, LG VX8360, Nokia Twist, or the Motorola Entice, be prepared for a higher monthly bill. Verizon will surely add new handsets to this list as they’re released. Worst of all, the $9.99 plan includes just 25MB. That’s 40 cents per MB, but 25MB isn’t very much these days.
(Update: I didn’t think about the math as I did it and listed an incorrect per-MB rate for the a-la-carte plan. Apologies.)
Then there’s the issue of whether the new plans will save you any money. I have two friends who share a family plan, 700 minutes with unlimited texting, and they pay $99.99 per month. You’ll never guess what two lines at 700 minutes per month with unlimited text messaging costs with the new rate schedule. Yep, $99.99. Both have phones on the above list, and one has a VCast package. Thankfully, they won’t have to change their plan to pay $10 per month on top of everything else. But, when it comes time to renew the contract, they’ll pay $120 per month, unless they decide to downgrade handsets.
New does not necessarily mean better. Some customers will benefit from these new plans, mostly those with unlimited plans. With Verizon’s nearly 90 million subscribers, however, combined with unlimited mobile-to-mobile on all plans, there seems little need for unlimited talk. In the end, the winner, as always, is Verizon.