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Verizon Mandates Data Plans With All 3G Multimedia Phones

Verizon Wireless has expanded the number of 3G multimedia phones requiring a minimum monthly data plan to all eight of its current models, up from two.

The eight phones, none of which is a smartphone, require a minimum $9.99 monthly plan for 25MB. Previously, multimedia phone users could select the $9.99/month plan or a 75-megabyte $19.99 /month plan as options, or they could pay for data without a data plan at a rate of $1.99 per megabyte. With the changes, Verizon has eliminated the $19.99/month option.

In Verizon’s estimation, “the new plans match the usage of today’s customers,” a spokesperson told TWICE. Most multimedia phone users had a data plan anyway, and the requirement will help subscribers “understand what to expect” from their monthly bills, she said. “Those purchasing the multimedia phones use more data and want the convenience of a plan — no surprises — and the comfort of using your phone for an optimum experience.”

The minimum $9.99 data requirement was introduced first last year with the LG enV Touch and the Samsung Rogue. When newly activated, the following phones will also come under the requirement: LG Chocolate Touch, LG enV3, LG VX8360, Motorola Entice W766, Nokia 7705 Twist and Samsung Alias 2. Verizon expects to launch more 3G Multimedia phones in 2010.

A mandatory $29.99/month unlimited-data plan remains unchanged for consumer users of 3G smartphones based on the Android, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry operating systems. Consumers using Web-enabled feature phones can continue to pay $1.99 per megabyte or opt for either the $9.99/month plan or the $29.99/month unlimited plan. The data plans deliver access to Mobile E-mail, games and the Internet.

Verizon also dropped the price of unlimited voice plans to $69.99 a month from $99.99. Unlimited voice/messaging plans were cut to $89.99/month, including unlimited text, picture and video messages to anyone in the country for $89.99 monthly access.

The carrier also reduced the price of unlimited Nationwide Family SharePlans.