Verizon Wireless announced several updates to its service plans that will go into effect Jan. 18.
For new customers, its Nationwide Unlimited Talk plan-which, as the name implies, gets you a lot of nationwide talking but nothing more-will be $69.99 a month, down from $99.99. Nationwide Unlimited Talk and Text, which includes texting, as well as photo and video messaging, will be $89.99 a month.
There are also new options for Nationwide Family SharePlans-a plan for unlimited talk will be $119.99 a month, while unlimited talk and text will be $149.99 a month.
Verizon has additionally discontinued its $19.99 data package option for 3G Multimedia phones. Also, additional feature phone owners will soon be required to pay $9.99 per month for a 25-megabyte data package. The requirement, which already applied to the Samsung Rogue and the LG enV Touch, will also apply to the LG Chocolate Touch, the LG enV3, the LG VX8360, the Motorola Entice W766, the Nokia 7705 Twist and the Samsung Alias 2.
Consumer data packages for 3G smartphones such as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Android-based devices will remain at $29.99 per month, but customers with feature phones can now additionally choose $9.99 or $29.99 data plans, in addition to the already-offered $1.99 per megabyte.
Want the freedom of being contract-free? It'll run just $5 more a month over the above-mentioned plans, Verizon announced, with the Prepaid Monthly Unlimited Talk plan becoming available for $74.99 and Prepaid Monthly Unlimited Talk & Text for $94.99. The additional $5 will also apply to 450- and 900-minute prepaid plans.
Existing customers can choose switch to the new plans without paying a fee or extending their contracts.
On Dec. 15, in another move to increase its competitiveness-and perhaps free up bandwidth for its growing line of smartphones-Verizon announced that customers with subscriptions to it Mobile Broadband or GlobalAccess plans now enjoy free Wi-Fi at Verizon hot spots. The coverage extends to netbooks and notebooks, but not smartphones.