Verizon has gone the way of other Internet service providers, introducing a new set of phone plans that will require users to either pay for their smartphones in monthly installments or buy in full straight-away.
The plans represent a radical shift away from how Verizon has traditionally operated, offering subsidies to handsets while locking users into contracts. The announcement falls in line with a trend set by T-Mobile two years ago, offering users lower service fees by purchasing their handsets for themselves.
The plans see the removal of single lines and family plans. Instead, users will have a choice of a plan with different amounts of data. The "small" plan will offer 1GB of data for $30 per month; the "medium," 3GB for $45 per month; the "large," 6GB for $60; and the "x-large," 12GB for $80 per month. Because the users are not locked into plans, they can change data amounts each month. Not only that, but the data can also be shared among devices and different accounts.
As is often the case with Verizon, these data fees are not the only expenses a user will run into. It will cost $20 a month per smartphone as an "access fee," as well as $10 per month for a tablet and $5 per month for a connected device such as a smartwatch. In spite of all the fees, Verizon thinks the new plans will pay off, as they will be much simpler for customers.
"Choosing a wireless plan is now easier than ever. Customers said they don't want to have to do a lot of math to figure out their best options, and we heard them," said vice president of consumer pricing Rob Miller, in a statement. "A plan with small, medium, large and x-large choices makes sense for the way people actually use their wireless service."
Of course, the focus on these four plans could be problematic for very heavy data users or families that use a lot of data altogether. Capping out at a monthly 12GB could see users going over the max and getting slapped with heavy charges.
All that said, whereas the full price of a smartphone may shock users at first, it is unlikely that it will end up costing more in the long run. What's more, Verizon will offer other large data plans in-store.