April 12, 2013
Verizon Rolls Out $35 Prepaid Mobile Plan
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The nation´s largest wireless carrier is looking to attract prepaid customers with a new, no-contract plan. For $35 a month, users will receive 500 anytime minutes of talk as well as unlimited text and Internet. As with other prepaid plans, this is aimed at users who don´t engage in prolonged gabfests. Users who exceed the 500 monthly minutes will face charges of 25 cents per minute.
This new plan was first reported by FierceWireless on Thursday and is reportedly an effort for Verizon to further its efforts to attract prepaid customers. Verizon had seen a slowing in the adoption of prepaid customers, adding just 142,000 prepaid users in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 228,000 in the previous quarter and down from the 252,000 it added in the final three months of 2011.
Verizon hasn´t been alone, however, in attracting fewer prepaid customers, and while it saw a decline in the number of new customers some of its rivals in the space have actually seen a decline in overall prepaid customers. Prepaid carrier Leap reportedly lost 337,000 net prepaid subscribers, while MetroPCS lost 93,000 net prepaid customers and even rival AT&T Mobility saw a net decline of 166,000 prepaid subscribers.
Those carriers´ respective losses could be Verizon´s gain in other words, and while the number one carrier has typically gone after the contract market for years, it has slowly but steadily made movement to the prepaid sector.
At the end of 2012, Verizon had 92.5 million multi-year contract customers while it had 5.7 million total prepaid customers.
This new prepaid plan is also geared strictly at feature phones rather than smartphones. At present, Verizon offers four feature phone 3G CDMA-capable handsets for this particular plan. These include the LG Cosmos 2, the Samsung Gusto 2, the Samsung Intensity 3, and the LG Extravert. These phones range in price for $49.99 to $69.99 but owners of older feature handsets can have those activated for the $35 plan as well.
The plan is thus aimed at heavy data and text users who don´t make a lot of voice calls, and appears to be in line with plans from smaller pre-paid carriers, including the aforementioned MetroPCS, as well as Cricket, Boost Mobile and Tracfone. By comparison, Cricket offers a $25 plan with 300 talk time minutes per month, along with a $35 plan that provides 1,000 minutes plus unlimited text and data.
For those who do make calls as much as text, Verizon´s next level plan, which is $15 more each month, offers unlimited calling. The step up $50 prepaid plan will offer unlimited calling, texting and data on a handful of 3G feature phones, including the LG Cosmos 2 and the Samsung Intensity 3.
These changes are just some of Verizon´s latest efforts to provide competitive pricing options for prepaid users. The carrier cut the price of its high-end prepaid smartphone plans in February from $80 to $70, which brought the price structure in line with that of rival AT&T. Verizon further offers a $60 per month prepaid smartphone plan with unlimited voice, texting and 500 MB of data. In addition, Verizon has a number of prepaid plans with per-minute and per-day pricing.