Beginning Sept. 8, Verizon Wireless will require certain feature phone users to sign up for data plans, according to leaked slides posted on the Boy Genius Report blog. The move may be an attempt to boost data revenues from customers inclined to use such services.
According to the blog, Verizon will create a new class of devices, called "Enhanced Multimedia" phones, which have a full HTML browser, run on EV-DO Rev. A, have a full Qwerty keyboard and launch on or after Sept. 8. Verizon will require subscribers who purchase these phones to sign up for a minimum monthly data plan of $9.99. The $9.99 plan gets customers 25 MB per month, and a $19.99 plan gives subscribers 75 MB per month (with 50-cent and 30-cent-per-MB overage charges, respectively).
Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney declined to comment, saying the carrier does not respond to leaks or rumors.
That Verizon may be attempting an increased focus on mobile data doesn't come as a surprise. In the second quarter, the carrier's mobile data revenue grew to $3.9 billion, up 52.6 percent from the year-ago quarter. Further, last month rival AT&T Mobility announced a new requirement that any customer purchasing a smartphone or upgrading to one will be required to subscribe to a monthly data plan for $30 in addition to a voice plan beginning Sept. 6.
- see this Boy Genius Report post
Verizon Wireless data revenues double in Q2
AT&T requires smartphone customers to subscribe to data plans
AT&T may introduce lower priced data plans