Verizon has refreshed its prepaid business with the introduction of AllSet, plans that acknowledge, Verizon blogged March 4, that “there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ wireless plan.”
The plans consist of a foundation price point—$35 a month for feature phones and $45 a month for smartphones. In the case of the latter, $45 includes unlimited messaging and 500MB of data.
For a limited time, smartphone customers can get 1GB of data for $45 a month if they enroll in Auto Pay—a paperless, convenient solution that more importantly ensures Verizon gets paid each month. Customers select a day of the month, and on that day Verizon extracts the funds from a bank account. (A perk of AllSet is that Verizon doesn’t run a credit check; AutoPay helps to couch that bet.)
The second component of AllSet is Bridge Data—rollover data that offers some flexibility.
Users can purchase an additional 500MB for $5, though this expires after 30 days.
Bridge options of an additional 1GB for $10 or 3GB for $20 expire after 90 days.
Additionally, for a limited time, users of all AllSet plans will receive 1,000 minutes a month for calls to Canada and Mexico, and all AllSet plans include a mobile hotspot feature, enabling users to connect laptops and other devices to a WiFi network via their phones.
One usage scenario, then, could be a smartphone user—say with an iPhone 4S compatible with the Verizon network. (Users can bring phones to the plan or purchase a phone from Verizon.) Taking advantage of the Auto Pay offer, a user could pay $45 a month for 1GB of data or $55 a month for 1GB of data plus another 1GB that can be tapped into the first month, and whatever’s left over can roll into the second and, if there’s any left, into the third month, supplementing the monthly 1GB.
Prepaid plans, Verizon said, introducing the offer, provide “flexibility, no annual contracts and access to the Verizon Wireless network—all at an affordable price.”
Other carriers—T-Mobile is top-of-mind—can offer flexibility and no annual contracts, so the most compelling bit of that pitch should be the Verizon network, which is vast and solid. Verizon completed its Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage build-out last year. However, Verizon’s prepaid customers are limited to its 3G network; even users with LTE-enabled smartphones will be kept off its LTE network.
The selection of phones that AllSet users can choose from is also limited—far from Verizon’s full portfolio.
Verizon beat Wall Street estimates for revenue and profit, during its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter, but like other carriers, it’s feeling the impacts of a highly competitive wireless market, and one that T-Mobile has done much to set on edge. Verizon added 1.7 million wireless customers during the quarter, which was up from 1.1 million the quarter before but down from 2.2. million a year ago.
Similarly, it activated 8.8 million smartphones, compared with 12.9 million a year ago.
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plans start at $50 a month for 500MB of high-speed data. (There are no overage fees; after 500MB, users are knocked down to a slower-speed network.) International roaming and unlimited talking and texting are included, and there’s no contract. Subscribers can bring their own phone or buy one from T-Mobile—its complete portfolio, that is.