Talking tech since 2003

Putting a smartphone on the Verizon Wireless network has been, to this point, an expensive proposition. Customers have been paying at least $80 a month — $40 for the smartphone access fee and $40 for Verizon’s 500 MB data plan — and many have been paying more for higher data limits. Starting tomorrow, it appears that wireless bills could get cheaper for some; according to The Verge, Verizon Wireless will be adding a 250 MB data option at $20 per month.

Verizon-logoSmartphone users who elect to use the $20 data plan will be able to use Verizon Wireless for as low as $60 a month (that’s before taxes and fees, of course). In this day and age, though, 250 MB of data won’t get you very far. The ideal customer for this data plan is someone who a) doesn’t spend a lot of time on their smartphone and doesn’t use apps that are data intensive, or b) someone who is around Wi-Fi almost all the time and only needs a data plan for those occasional trips away from that coverage.

Most contract smartphone users will likely find that a more expensive data plan is a better fit. Personally, my lowest months — where I really didn’t do anything but browse the Web and check email — have still come in around 1 GB, and months where I’ve been streaming music or watching YouTube videos over LTE have multiplied that number by two or three. If you’re sharing your data plan between multiple users, you’ll definitely feel squeezed by that low tier 250 MB. You’re better off upgrading to 4 GB or even 6 GB per month.

Interested in staying on Verizon Wireless while getting a cheaper plan with more data? It’s possible if you’re a prepaid user. Verizon’s prepaid plans offer unlimited calling and texts plus 2GB of data for $60 a month, or 4 GB of data for $70 a month.

Or, if you want cheaper plans and don’t want to worry about data limits at all, both Sprint and T-Mobile have your back in that regard. While the coverage on those networks leaves something to be desired, you can make out like a bandit if you’re in a well-blanketed area. And who knows; perhaps those two carriers can steal enough subscribers from Verizon Wireless and AT&T to force unlimited data back on those two carriers. Then we’ll be able to look back on this 250 MB, $20 plan and laugh.

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