Verizon Wireless may be differentiating its data plan offerings to create a tiered pricing structure for 4G LTE plans, which would offer faster download and upload speeds. The company had recently revised its data plan marketing materials, to now explicitly specify that the $30 data plan refers to “3G” smartphones and feature phones. The addition of the “3G” mention implies that 4G LTE plans may be priced differently.
This move makes sense as the carrier had inferred in the past that it would move towards some sort of tiered data pricing structure like rival AT&T when it launches its LTE 4G network. However, Verizon had said previously that it may not entirely want to mimic AT&T, which had abandoned an unlimited tier in favor of a maximum 2 GB data cap on its smartphone plan.
The carrier currently offers favorable 4G LTE rates for its USB modem as a data-centric and data-only device. There are currently two data plans for the carrier’s 4G LTE modem–a $50 plan for 5 GB of data and an $80 plan for $10; both plans incur a $10 fee per 1 GB of overage every month beyond the usage caps.
For its part, Sprint had placed a $10 premium on its 4G WiMax plans when it launched its first 4G smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G. With that phone, Sprint required a $10 premium per month on all plans connected in association with the smartphone. The same is subsequently true with other 4G WiMax smartphones on Sprint’s Now Network, including the HTC EVO Shift 4G and the Samsung Epic 4G, a Galaxy S series variant.
At this point, it’s still too early too tell what Verizon’s intention is with the upcoming 4G smartphones that the carrier will offer from HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung. However, with the change in language for the smartphone data plan to now reflect 3G Smartphone Data Plan, there is good reason to believe that the carrier may offer a 4G Smartphone Data Plan when those devices are made available.
The change in language and wording was first spotted by Engadget.