Rumor Mill: Verizon introducing more tiered 3G data plans

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will soon revamp its data plan pricing to include more tiers, according to the blog Engadget. If the carrier does decide to make the switch, it will be another clear indication that more wireless carriers are following AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) lead on tiered data pricing.

The carrier will introduce a new tier of data plans for smartphones, Engadget said, offering $15 for 150 MB. Importantly, the blog said, Verizon will continue to offer a $30 unlimited data plan for smartphones. AT&T currently offers two tiers for smartphones: $15 for 200 MB and $25 for 2 GB. T-Mobile USA has been rumored to be launching a $10 plan for 200 MB of data.

A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment.

In addition to the smartphone plan, Verizon will introduce tablet data plans of $20, $35, and $50 tablet plans for 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB, respectively, as it has done with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad, which it will begin selling Oct. 28 bundled with its MiFi product. Additionally, the blog said, feature phone customers will no longer be able to get 25 MB of data for $10, though it is unclear what their options will be.

Verizon executives have long indicated that the carrier will introduce tiered or usage-based pricing in conjunction with its launch of LTE, which is expected before the end of the year. However, the carrier quieted rumors over the summer that it planned to switch to tiered pricing for its 3G network before the LTE launch.

AT&T shook up the U.S. wireless market in June when it unveiled tiered pricing in June. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said last month that the lower introductory pricing has served to encourage users to try out AT&T's data services.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) CEO Dan Hesse said the carrier doesn't have plans to implement tiered pricing for mobile data--but he didn't rule out such a move at some point in the future.

"We are watching very closely," Hesse said during an investor conference last month. "Clearly, I'm not ruling out metered (pricing). But customers value simplicity."

For more:
- see this Engadget post

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