Verizon hones focus on prepaid with new unlimited plan

Verizon recently rejoined the unlimited bandwagon
Like some other unlimited plans, Verizon’s prepaid offering caps video streaming at 480p and doesn’t include tethering. (Verizon)

Verizon launched an unlimited plan for prepaid users, underscoring its efforts to target a market it had practically ignored until recently with an all-you-can-eat model it had long eschewed.

The nation’s largest carrier introduced an $80-a-month plan for prepaid users that includes unlimited talk, text and data, as well as unlimited text to more than 200 international markets and unlimited talk to Mexico and Canada.

The move follows the launch of unlimited-data prepaid plans from Verizon’s three main rivals in recent weeks: T-Mobile’s MetroPCS expanded its monthly 8 GB plan to include unlimited data, while AT&T’s Cricket cut the price of its existing unlimited plan from $70 to $60-a-month. Sprint’s Boost has begun offering four lines of compressed unlimited data for $100-a-month for users who switch carriers. And Sprint's Virgin brand subsequently joined the party with a new $60-a-month unlimited plan, Wave7 noted this morning.

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Unlike some other unlimited plans, Verizon’s prepaid offering caps video streaming at 480p and doesn’t include tethering. The carrier also said “it may prioritize” data speeds for customers when the network is congested.

“In just months, Verizon has transformed its prepaid offerings to make it easier and more affordable for customers to get access to the best network at a great value, no matter how much data they need,” Tami Erwin, Verizon’s executive vice president of operations, said in a press release. “This plan is all about giving our prepaid customers more choice. With data plans from as little as 2 GB to unlimited data, we’ve got a plan that fits your needs.”

Verizon said last October that it had taken steps to shore up its prepaid market segment, marking a significant shift for the carrier. Instead, it opted to view the MVNO TracFone as its de facto prepaid offering, which sells service on all four major networks, not just Verizon’s.

The carrier’s increased focus on prepaid appears to be paying dividends. The carrier lost 17,000 prepaid devices in the first quarter of 2016, marking a major improvement from the loss of 177,000 prepaid connections it reported in the same period a year ago.

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