Verizon Now Targeting Frugalistas With $35 Prepaid Option

Verizon Wireless has, as a result of its large network, good service, and widespread LTE coverage, competed mostly in the premium tier where cell phone plans and networks are concerned. However, in an industry where consumers are becoming more price sensitive and prepaid subscriber base is growing at a faster rate than post-paid subscriptions, Verizon isn’t ignoring budget shoppers and the carrier has introduced a $35 prepaid plan that’s marketed under the Verizon brand name.

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The plan is more basic and targets basic phone users with unlimited texting and web surfing with 500 voice minutes. At $35, the plan is about half as expensive as a comparable plan on AT&T’s post-paid network that offers 450 minutes of talk time, pay-per-use SMS and 3 GB of 4G data access.

Voice overages cost $0.25 per minute, and only four devices will work with the service–you cannot bring another device or substitute. Currently, only the the LG Cosmos 2, LG Extravert, Samsung Gusto 2, and Samsung Intensity III will work with the $35 per month prepaid option.

However, for users looking at the unlimited data portion of Verizon’s $35 prepaid plan, you should look elsewhere if your world is embedded deep insider web URLs, social networks, and YouTube uploads. First, the phones that are offered with this plan are feature phones, not smartphones. Second, users will be limited to 2G CDMA 1X data speeds, not Verizon’s 3G EVDO or 4G LTE network speeds, both of which offer faster download and upload times than 2G access.

Verizon has offered prepaid service in the past, but unlike some of its smaller rivals, it has not actively promoted nor aggressively priced its prepaid offerings in an effort to focus on more lucrative post-paid contract customers.

GigaOm speculates that Verizon is trying to figure out what it can do to monetize off of the legacy 2G networks. Since launching 4G LTE, half of the Verizon data traffic has been on 4G and 3G is used now mostly to route voice calls and for simultaneous voice and data connections with LTE devices as well as a backup in case of an LTE outage.

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