Verizon Wireless is revamping its mobile phone plans with larger monthly data allotments, added features to guard against data overage charges, monthly data rollover and a redesigned My Verizon Mobile app with simplified account management features.
The new plans, however, come at higher monthly rates compared to its existing accounts. Customers can move to the new plans starting July 7 or can continue to use their existing Verizon mobile plans, but they can't get the new features unless they switch to the latest offerings. The company unveiled the new plans, all of which include unlimited talk and text, on July 6.
Under the new plans, customers who had been paying $30 a month for 1GB of high-speed data will now be able to get 2GB of data for $35 a month. Customers who were paying $45 a month for 3GB of data can now opt for a 4GB plan for $50, while a customer who was paying $60 a month for 6GB can now pay $70 a month for 8GB of data. Users with $80 monthly plans that had 12GB of data can now upgrade to $90 accounts with 16GB of data, while customers who had $100 accounts and 18GB of data can now pay $110 for 24GB of data.
The monthly data charges are in addition to a $20-per-line monthly service fee for each smartphone. Tablets are $10 extra per month per device.
A new feature for all the updated accounts is a data rollover capability that lets users roll their unused high-speed data over to the next month. The data, however, only rolls over for one month, unlike plans from competitor T-Mobile, which offer data rollover for up to 12 months, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Under the Verizon plans, the data rollover expires at the end of a customer's monthly billing cycle.
New features in the revamped mobile plans include an optional overage protection feature called Safety Mode, which lowers the data speed from 4G LTE to 128k bps without incurring data overage charges, as well as a Data Boost feature that lets customers add 1GB of high-speed data for $15 while in Safety Mode so they can regain faster speeds. The Safety Mode feature is free for customers with accounts that include 16GB of monthly data or more, but costs $5 per month for users with accounts less than 8GB per month. Safety Mode can be turned on or off within the new My Verizon app.
Another feature under the new plans, which is available free to customers with mobile plans including 16GB of data or more each month, is unlimited talk and text from the United States to Mexico and Canada. Verizon customers also get those benefits when visiting those countries, as well as the ability to use data from their monthly allotments. Customers with mobile plans under 8GB per month can add the unlimited calling and texting feature to both countries for $5 a month per line for calls from the United States. To roam with your data and unlimited talk and text in Canada or Mexico, customers can purchase Verizon's TravelPass feature for $2 per day per line.
The redesigned My Verizon Mobile app, which will be available July 7, is built to dramatically simplify and integrate needed account management features for customers, said Jeffrey Cha, Verizon's vice president of total experience. It includes "everything you need to know about your account and data use at a glance," while offering users the ability to dive deeper or make account changes using a tap or a swipe on their device touch-screen.
The app also lets account holders see actual usage for family members on the same account. Customers can pay their bills using the app or arrange upgrades for devices as well. The app was redesigned using input from customers, he added. Customers can also get on-demand support through the app when needed.
"We believe it's everything our customers want, how they want it, right in the palm of their hands," said Cha.
Customers who already have two-year contracts with Verizon are also eligible to move to the new mobile plans or they can keep their existing plans.
Small businesses with 11 to 25 users can also choose revamped Verizon mobile plans starting at $175 a month for 25GB of shared data, plus a $15 per line service fee. A 50GB plan is $350 a month, while a 200GB plan is $1,000 a month. They include data rollover, Safety Mode, Data Boost and unlimited calling to and from Canada and Mexico.