UPDATED: Verizon to launch $80 prepaid smartphone plan

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) next week will launch an $80 prepaid smartphone plan that will include 1 GB data plan, according to a top executive from the company.

During a call with investors following the company's first quarter earnings announcement, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said the company will launch an $80 prepaid smartphone plan next week as one of the many initiatives the company is taking to drive growth in its wireless business.

A spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless declined to provide further details on the prepaid offering. Verizon currently offers a prepaid product, called Unleashed, that bundles unlimited voice, texting and Web usage for $50 per month. However, Unleashed is only available on a handful of feature phones. The devices are available at Verizon stores and through Best Buy, Target and Walmart stores. Verizon also offers per-minute prepaid pricing plans.

 Verizon's decision to offer a prepaid plan specifically for smartphone users is part of a growing trend among operators. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) last year launched the LG Thrive, an Android-powered smartphone, under the company's GoPhone prepaid brand for $149.99. Earlier this week AT&T also introduced new prepaid data options, including 1 GB for $25; 200 MB for $15 and 50 MB for $5. AT&T's new prepaid data packages are available on its $50 Unlimited Talk & Text nationwide smartphone GoPhone plan and its $25 Unlimited Text with 250 minutes GoPhone plan.

For more:
- see this Verizon earnings call transcript

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This article was updated to indicate that Verizon is launching an $80 prepaid smartphone plan, not an $80 prepaid smartphone.