Verizon cuts prepaid prices, data allotments with new 'AllSet' plans

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Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) reworked the pricing for its prepaid plans by reducing prices but also cutting the amount of data in the plans. The new prepaid plans come weeks after Verizon updated its shared data plans, changing the name of those plans from "Share Everything" to "More Everything" and increasing the data allotments for some plans.

The carrier's new prepaid plans, called "AllSet," start at $35 per month for feature phones (for 500 voice minutes, unlimited texting and 500 MB of data). The cheapest prepaid smartphone plan starts at $45 per month for unlimited voice and texting and 500 MB of data.

On both feature and smartphones, customers can add more data via "Bridge Data," which allows users to add data to their accounts whenever they want. Any unused Bridge Data in a current monthly cycle moves to the next cycle. Under Bridge Data, customers can add 500 MB for $5 with a 30-day expiration, 1 GB for $10 with a 90-day expiration or 3 GB for $20 with a 90-day expiration. Verizon said for a limited time, smartphone customers can double their monthly data to 1 GB by enrolling in its Auto Pay billing system. Also for a limited time, customers who choose $45 AllSet plans for feature phones or smartphones will receive 1,000 minutes a month for international long distance calling to Canada and Mexico.

The last time Verizon reshuffled its prepaid pricing was in May 2013. At that time, Verizon said prepaid customers could receive unlimited voice and texting and 2 GB of data for $60 a month. For $70 a month, prepaid customers could get unlimited voice and texting and 4 GB of data.

Verizon's new AllSet plans cut prices significantly but also reduce the amount of data users can get by quite a bit. Verizon is clearly not forgetting the prepaid market but is also putting a lot of emphasis on its postpaid More Everything shared data plans.

Verizon's moves in prepaid come as AT&T (NYSE:T) nears the completion of its deal to acquire regional prepaid carrier Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP). AT&T has said when that happens it will maintain Leap's Cricket prepaid brand and discontinue its own Aio Wireless brand. "We're convinced that putting the Cricket brand on top of the AT&T network is going to shake things up in this space," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in January.

Stephenson said Cricket is a strong brand and that AT&T wants to use that brand "to be very assertive and very aggressive to push smartphone penetration in the no-contract space and to be aggressive as it relates to pricing."

Leap recently revealed that it plans to release its fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 financial and operational results via a securities filing, and does not plan to issue a separate earnings release or conduct an earnings conference call. The deadline for Leap to file its Form 10-K is March 17, and Leap said it plans to file the 10-K prior to the deal with AT&T closing, which Leap its believes will happen on or before the expiration of the FCC's informal 180-day shot clock on March 14.

For more:
- see this Verizon post
- see this Slashgear article

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