John Paczkowski

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Verizon Wireless: 30 Percent Cut to Voice, 50 Percent Increase to Data

verizon-att-fightAs expected, Verizon Wireless rolled out some new wireless pricing plans this morning, promising “simple, affordable convenience.” And the carrier does provide that if you’re a feature phone user with little need for a data package. Or an AT&T customer.

Verizon (VZ) dropped its nationwide unlimited voice plan to $69.99 a month from $99 and began offering a nationwide unlimited voice and text plan for $89.99.

But if you’d like a data plan to go along with them, you’ll be looking at additional fees–$9.99 for a 25-megabyte package and $29.99 for an “unlimited” one. The $19.99 data package option for 3G multimedia phones has been discontinued.

So what Verizon has really done here is cut the price of voice and raise, substantially, the price of data, as Pali Research analyst Walter Piecyk pointed out in a research note to clients this morning.

“This is 30 percent cut to voice and a 50% increase to data which effectively results in about an 8-10% effective cut to the more popular high-end rate plans,” the analyst explained.

“The rate moves appear to be trying to increase the perceived relative value of data,” Piecyk added. “There is in effect a price increase for data to $30 from $20, a level that most carriers have charged. Increasing prices is not a logical way to drive adoption but Verizon mitigates that increase with steep cuts in voice and appears to be using its industry leading position to move the perception on the value of data.”

One last point worth making here: Verizon’s new plans are more expensive than those offered by Sprint Nextel (S) and T-Mobile, but cheaper than AT&T’s–at the moment, anyway. The last time Verizon lowered its plan prices, AT&T (T) followed suit within a matter of hours.

The plans go into effect Monday, Jan. 18.

Below, some comparative tables on Verizon’s new pricing plans, courtesy of Pali (click to enlarge), and the official announcement:

pali_VZ

VERIZON WIRELESS OFFERS SIMPLE, AFFORDABLE CONVENIENCE WITH NEW UNLIMITED VOICE PLANS
New Nationwide Plan Options Include Unlimited Talk and Text to Pair with Robust Data Plans on the Latest 3G Phones

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – New monthly service plans from Verizon Wireless make connecting to the nation’s most reliable wireless network easier than ever. Beginning Jan. 18, customers may sign up for a new Nationwide Unlimited Talk plan that allows customers to call anyone in the United States for $69.99 monthly access or a Nationwide Unlimited Talk & Text plan to call and send text, picture and video messages to anyone in the country for $89.99 monthly access.

Nationwide Family SharePlans® will also have new unlimited options. Nationwide Unlimited Talk Family SharePlans will be $119.99 monthly access while the Nationwide Unlimited Talk & Text Family SharePlans will be $149.99 monthly access. All Family SharePlan pricing includes the first two lines of service. Standard text message rates will apply for customers on the Nationwide Unlimited Talk plans who do not sign up for a text messaging bundle.

Data Packages

The company also announced the expansion of the 25 megabyte for $9.99 per month data package requirement to include all Verizon Wireless 3G Multimedia phones, which gives customers quick access to Mobile E-mail, games and the Internet. The data package requirement was introduced last year with the LG enV® TOUCH and the Samsung Rogue™. Today’s announcement expands that list to include new activations of the LG Chocolate Touch™, LG enV®3, LG VX8360, Motorola Entice™ W766, Nokia 7705 Twist™ and Samsung Alias™ 2. The company expects to introduce a host of 3G Multimedia phones in 2010. The $19.99 data package option for 3G Multimedia phones has been discontinued.

Customers using Simple Feature phones (Mobile Web-enabled) will continue to pay $1.99 per megabyte or choose either the $9.99 or $29.99 data packages. The consumer data package for 3G Smartphones such as BlackBerry®, Windows Mobile® or Android devices will remain at $29.99 per month.

Prepaid Plans

Verizon Wireless will also offer customers new prepaid plans beginning Jan. 18. For those who prefer pay-as-you-go options, but want a no-holds approach to calling and texting, new Monthly Unlimited Prepaid plans will give customers the same great calling options as monthly contract subscribers for just $5 more per month. Prepaid Monthly Unlimited Talk is now available for $74.99 per month while contract subscribers pay $69.99 for the same unlimited calling option. Prepaid Monthly Unlimited Talk & Text will be available for $94.99 per month. The 450- and 900-minute Monthly Prepaid plans will also be available for $5 more per month than comparable postpaid plans.

Existing Customers

Today’s announcement will not have an impact on existing customer contracts, although customers may choose to move to any of the new plans. The company allows customers to change their service plans at any time without penalty or contract extension. To move to the newly announced plans, customers may go online to their My Verizon accounts at www.verizonwireless.com or contact Customer Service at 1-800-922-0204.


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