If you’ve been getting around paying higher cell phone rates for your smartphone by either skimping on the data plan or forgoing it altogether, that’s about to change if you’re a Verizon Wireless customer. Beginning later this month, all new smartphones sold will require a data plan of at least $29.99, if not more.
Verizon will do away with the 10MB data plan, as well as the pay as you go plans on new phones sold after November 14. Part of this makes sense: for pay as you go, data was charged at 1.5 cents per KB, which would come to about $15 per MB of data. The 10MB plan cost users $24.99 monthly, but overage charges would be about $5 per MB after that.
The $29.99 monthly plan would get folks unlimited data. Most people would be able to use this package for their phones, and it is the same price AT&T customers currently pay for data for their iPhone 3G’s. But it looks like the company will be taking this one step further next year, with “Mobile Web 2.0″ phones also requiring the new data plans.
Currently, Verizon says phones that need the plan are “devices with HTML capability.” Thus, if you have a full web browser on your new phone, you’ll be getting the new plan. Current customers would not be affected: they would be grandfathered until they upgrade their devices.
Now, I’m the first person to criticize Verizon when it comes to its cell phone service. The company cripples its phones with an awful propreitary interface, and locks out functionality more than any other carrier. But this move makes sense.
If you have a smartphone, you shouldn’t be skimping out anyway. The whole purpose of these devices are the Internet connectivity themselves. It’s a waste of money to buy a device like the iPhone or LG Dare, etc. and then not get the data plan with it.
Add to this the ridiculous way the smaller plans were priced, and its likely most were already opting for this plan anyway. You can’t fault Verizon for wanting to cash in on the smartphone craze, after all it does have investors to deal with.