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Friday, October 22, 2010

Verizon Data Plans, are the iPad plans a trial for future smartphone plans?

On October 28, Verizon will begin selling the iPad bundled with a MiFi mobile hot spot.  The prices for the bundles will be the same price as the iPad WiFi+3G models ($629, $729 and $829).  The big difference will be the pay as you go data plans Verizon is offering.  For $20/mo you can get 1GB of data, for $35/mo you get 3GB of data and $50/mo gets you 5GB of data.  If you exceed your data usage you will be charged $20/GB on the $20 plan, but only $10/GB on the other 2 plans.  This pricing structure looks more realistic than AT&T's 2-tiered plans.  While the cheapest AT&T plan is only $15/mo, you only get 200MB of data, the $25/mo plan gets you 2GB of data usage.  Any plan less than 1GB of data just doesn't seem like enough to me.  I hope the carriers move towards more tiers with more options, like Verizon's offering.

I just wonder if maybe Verizon isn't using the iPad data plans as a test market for future smartphone data plans?  There have been rumors that Verizon will be moving to tiered data plans, probably when the Verizon iPhone is released.  I, for one, would welcome a pricing structure more like this for smartphones... but only if they allowed me to use that data for tethering and mobile hot spots without charging an additional fee.  If I am paying to have access to 1GB of data / month, what device I use that data on shouldn't matter.  Extending that thought even further, they should allow me to share my data plan with all of the phones in my family plan the same way minutes are shared.  It is very hard to justify $20/phone/month for data plans, put $20/mo for shared access to 1GB of data, that would be reasonable.

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