Verizon kills its contracts with simpler data buckets

Verizon is attempting to make picking a mobile package more straightforward, killing off the contract but ousting phone subsidies in the process. As of August 13, Verizon will retire its individual line and family plans, shifting to four options – small, medium, large, and x-large – that all include unlimited calls and messaging, varying instead by how much data they include.

$30 per month on the small plan, for instance, nets 1GB of data; the medium plan has 3GB for $45. On the large plan, 6GB costs $60 per month, while finally the x-large plan gets 12GB for $80.

Subscribers will be able to share the data, calls, and texts between as many devices as they like, though they'll have to cough up an access fee for every phone, tablet, mobile hotspot, or smartwatch.

For a phone, that'll be $20 per month. Tablets and mobile hotspots will be $10 per month, and smartwatches or other wearables will be $5 per month.

The plans will be entirely separate from the cost of a smartphone or other device, however, and have no minimum contract: users will be able to switch or cancel on a month to month basis, or indeed add or remove devices from the shared data bucket.

If you don't already have a phone, there'll be the option to either buy one outright or to sign up to a monthly payment plan that spreads the unsubsidized cost across a period such as two years. It's a strategy T-Mobile USA has used to good effect.

Verizon launched Edge, its own "flexible equipment payment plan", back in 2013. At the time, devices purchased under the plan could be used with any of the network's month-to-month single line or family plans.

The Edge branding is seemingly being sidelined, though the process is still the same.

Existing More Everything plan subscribers will be able to switch to the new plans when they launch, Verizon says, or remain on their current plan, though there will be "some restrictions."

Verizon's goal with the new options is seemingly ease of comprehension rather than any further moves to compete on price. Customers looking for the most affordable service now no longer have the 500MB option, which was offered for $20, while those with multiple users and devices on a family plan will have to crunch the numbers carefully to see if they stand to spend more or make a saving by switching over.

SOURCE Verizon