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Verizon Adds Modem Capability To More Phones

Bedminster, N.J. –— In a process that began last November, Verizon Wireless is making more phones do double duty as broadband data modems when connected to a laptop.

Sprint also began offering a similar service last fall, but Cingular said it has offered the capability for years on select phones.

In November, Verizon enabled its Blackberry 7130e phone to double as a modem, and now the carrier has extended the capability to four more phones: LG’s V and VX8100 and Motorola’s RAZR V3c and E815. Owners of these CDMA 1x EV-DO phones no longer have to buy a separate cellular PC card or pay for a separate airtime plan for the card.

The option is designed for people who are less frequent users of wireless modem service, allowing them to carry fewer devices when they’re on the go, a spokeswoman said.

Verizon’s wireless PC Cards cost $49 to $149 with two-year contract. Monthly unlimited broadband modem service costs $79.99 for PC card users who lack a Verizon phone with voice plan, or $59.99 with a voice plan of $39.99 or higher. Modem service for the four phones, excluding the Blackberry model, costs $59.99 per month with eligible voice plan, plus $39 for a cable kit.

The Blackberry phone, PDA-phones and smartphones do double duty for as little as an additional $15 a month if the user already subscribes to select voice plans and to an unlimited data plan for handset-based e-mail and Web browsing. The service would cost an extra $30 a month for users who had only a voice plan.

For its part, Cingular said subscribers have been able to use select GPRS and EDGE phones of all stripes as modems “for years” and that its planned HSDPA phones will offer that capability plus simultaneous voice and data.

Likewise, Sprint offers phone-as-modem service for its PPC-6700 PDA phone, Samsung a900, Samsung a920 and Sanyo 7500. Phone-as-modem service began on at least one of the devices last fall. The service costs $39.99 a month for 40MB of data and $49.99 a month for an unlimited service plan.