When it launched a prepaid plan for select 3G smartphones last year, Verizon Wireless caught some flak. The offering, unlimited talk and text plus 1GB of data for $80 per month, didn’t entice many consumers. Not only did MVNO competitors such as Straight Talk offer much cheaper deals, even closer competitors like AT&T provided more features for a better price. By the time December rolled around it appeared Verizon had conceded the game; they offered a double data plan, providing 2GB of data for the same price, as a promotion through January 31st.
On February 1, they announced cheaper and better prepaid unlimited plans.
Both of the new plans provide unlimited talk and text, which has become a staple at Verizon recently. Its Share Everything plans, revealed in 2012, come with unlimited talk and text standard. As with the Share Everything plans, the new prepaid plans are priced based on the amount of data available.
For $70 per month customers can get 2GB of 3G data. For $60 per month they can get 500MB. By providing 300 percent more data for just $10 per month, Verizon tips the scales towards the $70 plan. That will certainly help them boost average revenue per user (ARPU), which is typically far lower in the prepaid world than in postpaid.
The biggest difference between Verizon’s first prepaid smartphone offering and the new one: handset selection. They started off with just one handset available before quietly adding more (eventually including the iPhone 4 and 4S. Under the current deal , customers can bring any inactive 3G smartphone for activation. So if you have an old BlackBerry or Android sitting in a drawer — or yes, even an iPhone 4 or 4S — you can hook it up to this plan and save a considerable sum over the Share Everything price.
The catch, of course, is that 4G LTE phones are not allowed on this deal. Anyone who owns a 4G LTE phone knows that once you go 4G, you can’t go back to 3G. There is such a stark difference in speed and reliability. Still, in many ways 3G phones make much more sense for these prepaid plans. Few people have gone through an entire contract with a 4G phone, so there are few inactive ones to reactivate on prepaid. The cost of a new 4G phone without a contract is also very high — the lowest I could find is $450. So as a value proposition, 3G makes sense.
The plan is available now on Verizon Wireless’s website.
Via Phone Scoop.