Verizon Wireless is going to require new customers who buy certain feature phones to sign up for a minimum $9.99 monthly data plan, according to the Boy Genius Report blog. The blog said that certain devices, classified as "3G Multimedia," will be affected by the changes, which are to go into effect Jan. 18.
Existing customers who have the phones, which include the LG enV3, LG enV Touch and Motorola Rival, will not be required to add the data package, which is said to include 25 MB of data, unless they make certain account changes, the blog said. In September, Verizon confirmed that customers who buy the Samsung Rogue and want to access the Web, email and download applications will be required to purchase a $9.99 monthly data plan for 25 MB and a $19.99 monthly data plan for 75 MB of data. At the time, Verizon said the data plan requirement applied only to the Rogue and not to other feature phones, but that it would be applied to other feature phones in the future.
A Verizon spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The rumored action comes amid FCC scrutiny over Verizon's recent tweaks to its early termination fee (ETF) policies. In December, the FCC sent a letter to Verizon asking the nation's largest carrier to explain its "advanced devices" ETF, which raises the pro-rated fee to $350 for devices including netbooks and some smartphones. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week said Verizon Wireless' response to the agency's inquiry into the fees "raised more questions than it answered," comments that could protend further FCC action on the topic.
- see this Boy Genius Report post
Verizon defends ETF, data usage fee policies
Verizon confirms new data plans for feature phones
Rumor Mill: Verizon to require data plans for select feature phones
Verizon Wireless data revenues double in Q2
AT&T requires smartphone customers to subscribe to data plans