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Report: Verizon launching 5 GB prepaid mobile broadband plan for $80

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Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is launching a new tier in its prepaid mobile broadband service, offering 5 GB for $80 per month, according to a new report from research firm Current Analysis.

The report said the plan is valid up to 30 days from the time of purchase and is compatible with select netbooks as well as data cards. A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment.

Verizon has dabbled in prepaid mobile broadband since last fall. The carrier offers a daily plan for $15 with a cap at 100 MB of usage, a weekly plan for $30 with a cap at 300 MB, and a monthly plan for $50 with a 1 GB cap. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) offers similar plans.

Verizon's new 5 GB for $80 plan "offers contract-phobic, high-end users with a viable option," said Current Analysis analyst Deepa Karthikeyan.

However, Current Analysis said the $80 price point is too high to drive mass adoption. T-Mobile USA offers a prepaid 5 GB plan for $40 per month and a 200 MB plan for $20 per month for existing T-Mobile subscribers. And in April, T-Mobile said it would drop overage charges on its 5 GB monthly webConnect mobile data plan, but noted it will throttle users' speeds if they exceed that limit.

Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) prepaid brands, confirmed it will launch an unlimited prepaid mobile broadband offering for $40 per month. The new plan will be available online Wednesday, and will be pushed out to retail stores in the coming weeks.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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Article updated Aug. 25 to reflect the planned date of Virgin Mobile's launch and Verizon's prepaid mobile broadband data caps.