Verizon Wireless today announced some changes to its wireless policies and plans. First off, following the lead of T-Mobile, starting August 13, 2015 the company will eliminate phone subsidies and require customers to either pay for their smartphone in monthly installments or buy it outright.
Also eliminated are traditional single line and family plan options. Instead similar to before but with restructured pricing, Verizon will charge a monthly access fee to connect a device to an account as follows:
- $20 smartphone (includes unlimited talk and text)
- $10 tablet or portable wi-fi hotspot
- $5 for connected devices such as smartwatches
Data can then be added to the account in the form of "buckets" with the following monthly charges:
- Small bucket 1 GB $30
- Medium bucket 3 GB $45
- Large bucket 6 GB $60
- X-large 12 GB for $80
This means a customer could create an account with 1 smartphone line and a small bucket with 1 GB of 4G LTE data per month for $50 + taxes and fees. A second line could then be added to the account making the 1 GB of data shared between devices while bringing the total cost up to $70.
These changes should drive a few more single line customers over to Verizon prepaid where pricing is cheaper. On the prepaid side of things a customer could pay $45/month for unlimited talk and text and with autopay enabled receive 2 GB of 4G LTE data. Once there is more than one line involved things get a little bit murky though as to whether or not prepaid is a cheaper and better option. It will depend on what an individuals data requirements are per line. Of course you should also check out other Verizon MVNO's to see if there is a better option out there for you. Without phone subsidies the playing field seems to be further leveled between Verizon direct and its MVNOs.
Once the new pricing changes go into effect on August 13th, customers who are currently on a More Everything plan will have the option to switch over to a new plan. However, those customers who are currently under contract will be required to pay the same line access fee ($15-$40) they currently pay until their contract is up. Once the contract is up the line access fee will automatically be billed at a rate of $20/month.