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Verizon Wireless details Unleashed $50 prepaid unlimited plan

April 26, 2011

Click to see our prepaid lineup and get your own incredible deal!ITYS (I told you so):  two weeks ago, AT&T officially blurred the line between contract and prepaid, offering one (ONE!) smartphone for their prepaid brand that they also offer for contract.  The problem for AT&T is that anyone with a calculator can do the simple math and figure out they’re paying over $700 extra for the same phone and same service!

After the AT&T announcement, 3 days later the #6 carrier in the USA, US Cellular, made the same announcement, launching their own one (ONE!) smartphone for their prepaid brand.  Because of that news, I said Verizon would have no choice but to counter with their own prepaid setup.

Verizon has been painfully lagging behind the rest of the wireless world in getting a prepaid lineup to market.  Sprint led the pack with Boost, VirginMobile, and two super-cheap lineups, not to mention our Lightyear Wireless.  AT&T has had the GoPhone brand in place for years, but that was always very expensive minutes on very crappy fones.  So the AT&T introduction of a smartphone was the heralding of a new day in wireless, because finally you can get the same quality fones from the biggest wireless carriers without the suffocating contract.  And AT&T’s customers can clearly see how much cheaper prepaid is.  With that clarity, they can then compare AT&T’s pricing to pricing of companies like Lightyear Wireless.

Below is the rumored, soon-to-be-launched Verizon prepaid brand.  You’ll notice their limited fone selection (and lack of quality fones) will make it difficult for them to compete, until they too bend and bring a smartphone to their prepaid lineup.  The days of contract wireless are numbered

[Note the pricing data at the beginning and end of the article is misleading, if not inaccurate:  it says Verizon will offer “prepaid unlimited wireless calling, texting and data for $50 per month,” but in the next paragraph identifies the 3 low-quality fones available, none of which will give you a data experience comparable to a smartphone.  So calling that plan “unlimited data” is similar to saying getting a Smartcar is the same as getting a Mercedes.

“MetroPCS offers unlimited talking, texting and data for $40 per month” is incorrect.  Head over to the MetroPCS site and read the fine print, and you’ll see that their unlimited data plan is $60/month.  So the “$40” quote is only off by 50%. 😦  Also, “Leap prices it at $45 per month” is wrong, again because their smartphone plan is $55/month.  Then to include TracFone in the mix – “TracFone also offers unlimited service for $45 per month” – when TracFone doesn’t even offer a smartphone, is embarrassing.  I remain in relentless pursuit of the truth.]

Red highlights are mine.

Verizon Wireless details Unleashed $50 prepaid unlimited plan
April 26, 2011 — 6:13pm ET | By Mike Dano

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) appears to be on the cusp of launching a major new service dubbed “Verizon Unleashed,” which offers prepaid unlimited wireless calling, texting and data for $50 per month. The service is a direct attack on the unlimited offerings of Sprint Nextel’s (NYSE:S) Boost Mobile brand, as well as regional carriers like MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) and MVNOs like TracFone.

Click here for complete details of Verizon Unleashed.
Click here for complete details of Verizon Unleashed.

Verizon Unleashed offers unlimited talking, texting and mobile Web access for $50 per month. The service is available on three feature phones: The clamshell-style LG Accolade for $39.99, the bar-style LG Cosmos (with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard) for $99, and the Qwerty Pantech Caper for $79.99.

The carrier also offers Unleashed per-day and per-minute pricing: Customers can pay $1.99 per day for unlimited talking to any number, with texts at 2 cents each and daily mobile Web browsing at 99 cents per day; or customers can pay 99 cents per day for unlimited calling to Verizon customers, with calling to other numbers costing 10 cents per minute, texts costing 10 cents per message and mobile Web browsing costing 99 cents per day.

It’s unclear where exactly Verizon Unleashed is being sold. Zip codes for Los Angeles and Miami appear to work, while zip codes for Denver, New York City and Atlanta do not. According to a source who requested anonymity, Best Buy outlets in Southern California are offering the service.

A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman declined to comment.

Rumblings of Verizon’s Unleashed offering have been circulating for weeks now. Engadget recently reported on the LG Cosmos at an unidentified Best Buy outlet.

“This new plan appears to be targeted most closely to similar plans from the likes of Boost and Virgin Mobile,” wrote Weston Henderek of research firm Current Analysis in response to questions from FierceWireless. Henderek said Verizon Unleashed launched today and is available in the Verizon Wireless Florida region, which is east of Panama City down through the rest of Florida, and in Southern California. He said the offering may be an attempt to counter Leap and MetroPCS: he said Leap’s Cricket offering is popular in Southern California and MetroPCS has found success in Florida.

“The plan appears to fit well with going after the Boosts and Virgin Mobiles of the world without compromising Verizon Wireless postpaid subscribers, since it appears that there are only three devices to choose from and those devices appear to be all feature phones,” Henderek wrote. “In addition, the plan does not offer data roaming and comes with a Catch 22 where customers must maintain a balance of at least the total of their monthly bill or calls will cost 25 cents per minute and data 99 cents per day.”

Verizon last year tested a $50 prepaid monthly unlimited plan across the Southeast. The tests covered 11 states.

Verizon’s entry into the prepaid, unlimited space likely will ratchet up the pressure on unlimited prepaid companies including Sprint Nextel’s Boost Mobile brand, which kicked off the unlimited $50 prepaid game in 2009. Meantime, MetroPCS offers unlimited talking, texting and data for $40 per month, Leap prices it at $45 per month and MVNO TracFone also offers unlimited service for $45 per month.

Interestingly, Boost, MetroPCS and others have recently added Android-powered smartphones into the mix as a way to separate themselves from the competition.

For more:
– see this Verizon site

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