Verizon Tests $20 Entry-Level Phone Plan


Verizon Wireless will introduce an entry-level, $20-per-month data plan with 300 MB as part of a back-to-school promotion in the Mid-Atlantic region, a spokeswoman confirmed. However, it's unclear whether the data plan will last beyond the promotion or how widespread the offer will be.

All new and existing customers in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., are eligible for the promotion, which runs from Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, Verizon (NYS: VZ) spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed to FierceWireless. The data plan will be available for both feature phone and smartphone customers when it is added to an existing voice plan.

Raney declined to name other markets that will offer the plan or say whether it will be extended. She said other Verizon regional presidents may announce the promotion at a later date. The promotion was first reported by the blog Phandroid.

Starting July 7, Verizon began offering usage-based data plans for new smartphone customers. New smartphone customers can choose from one of three options: $30 for 2 GB, $50 for 5 GB, or $80 for 10 GB. There is an overage charge of $10 per GB of data. Verizon also charges $10 for 75 MB per month for feature-phone users.

Other carriers that offer usage-based smartphone data pricing have entry-level plans. T-Mobile USA offers a 200 MB add-on for $10 per month, and AT&T (NYS: T) offers 250 MB for $15.

Speaking recently at the Oppenheimer Technology & Communications Conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said he expects customers to move into the carrier's $50 and $80 tiers as they use LTE devices with multimedia capabilities. "Usage is on an escalating scale," he said. "The tiered pricing will become more important as times goes on than it is today." However, he did not give a time frame for when he expects that kind of transition to take place.

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