Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) will bring LTE data access to its prepaid customers for the first time on July 17, according to a report from Droid Life. Verizon has up until now limited its prepaid customers to its 3G CDMA network.
The blog, citing unnamed sources, said starting July 17 Verizon's AllSet plans will gain LTE access. The plans are for feature pones and smartphones, with the cheapest prepaid smartphone plan starting at $45 per month for unlimited voice and texting and 500 MB of data. The cheapest feature phone plan is $35 per month and includes 500 voice minutes, unlimited texting and 500 MB of data.
The blog said that Verizon will sell new postpaid LTE phones that can be activated with prepaid pricing, and Verizon will offer certified pre-owned devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5. Customers will also be able to bring their existing Verizon LTE phones to the service.
A Verizon spokesman declined to comment.
Under Verizon's current AllSet pricing, prepaid customers can add more data to their basic plans via what Verizon calls "Bridge Data." 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.
If the AllSet pricing stays the same after Verizon adds LTE support, Verizon AllSet customers could use Bridge Data to get unlimited voice, texting and 3.5 GB of LTE data for $65 per month. It's unclear if there will be any throttling for prepaid LTE customers.
That pricing would be much cheaper than Verizon's postpaid plans. Under Verizon's More Everything shared data plans, which have LTE and are for postpaid customers, subscribers pay $100 per month for a smartphone with 3 GB of shared data. The More Everything plans also come with features such as international messaging, mobile hotspot service and 25 GB of free cloud storage.
Other carriers have offered prepaid LTE service for some time. AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) offers LTE for its Cricket service, but restricts the maximum download speeds available to its new Cricket prepaid customers to 8 Mbps on LTE devices and 4 Mbps on HSPA+ devices. AT&T in May 2013 added LTE support to its GoPhone prepaid service.
T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) has offered LTE service on its prepaid plans since it launched LTE in 2013 and Sprint (NYSE: S) has offered LTE services through its prepaid brands Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile since early 2013.
- see this Droid Life article
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