In the highly competitive American wireless industry, carriers have to keep up with the changes to stay relevant. Verizon, the biggest wireless carrier in the United States, appears to have been pushed by pressure coming from T-Mobile, as the Big Red finally announced the death of the two-year contract.
Instead of the confusing web of single and family-sharing phone and service plans, Verizon says it will now offer simpler choices that will let new customers buy plans as though they were buying t-shirts.
Verizon's plan options now include a Small with 1 GB of data for $30 a month, a Medium with 3 GB of data for $45 a month, a Large with 6 GB of data for $60 a month, and an Extra Large with 12 GB of data for $80 a month. Each of these plans already come with unlimited calling and texting.
Since there are no contracts, customers can now easily switch from one plan to the other, which is beneficial for users who want flexibility in choosing their services.
However, customers will also need to pay additional fees to be able to use their plans. These fees include a $20 monthly access fee to let customers use a Verizon SIM card. For customers who opt for Verizon's new device payment option, formerly known as Verizon Edge, they will also have to make the monthly installments to pay for their smartphone's unsubsidized price.
So, for instance, if a customer wants to pay for a new iPhone 6 in installments and gets the Large plan with 6 GB of data a month, he will have to pay the $27 monthly payments for the iPhone, the $60 for data plan, and the $20 for the access fee. That is $107 in monthly payments all in all, which is only very slightly cheaper than the $110 customers would pay for a similar plan under a two-year contract.
Currently, a 6 GB data plan costs $70 and the access fee for a contract plan is $40. If customers decide to pay for the device upfront, they will only need to pay $200, compared to the full price of $650 that new customers will have to pay.
Customers who want to connect other devices to Verizon's network will also have to pay another $10 for a tablet and $5 for a connected device, such as a smartwatch. If they go over their data bucket for the month, they will have to pay a whopping $15 for each extra GB they consume.
All in all, why Verizon's new plans will give customers the ability to switch from one plan to the next, customers will still have to pay more or less the same prices as they did before. The biggest hit comes to people who actually want the two-year contracts and the subsidized smartphones, since they will now be paying at least $400 more to pay for a device upfront.
The new plans are set to take effect on Aug. 13
Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr