Verizon: Motorola Xoom customers can keep 3G data plans after LTE upgrade

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said its data pricing for the LTE version of the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Xoom tablet will be the same as its EV-DO version of the gadget. However, it's unclear whether this means that all future Verizon LTE tablets will have the same data pricing as the carrier's EV-DO tablets.

Motorola’s Xoom will support Verizon’s LTE network.Verizon's pricing came to light in the details it provided for the new tablet, which recently went on sale. Xoom users will be able to upgrade their device to support Verizon's LTE service for free sometime in the second quarter. (The Xoom currently supports Verizon's EV-DO network.) Customers will have to ship the tablet to Motorola in a prepaid FedEx envelope, and the upgrade is expected to take six business days from the time customers ship the gadget to be complete.

In an FAQ explaining the process, Verizon said customers will not have to change their service plans when the LTE upgrade is complete. Verizon has said EV-DO data pricing for the Xoom falls under its previously established tablet pricing plans: 1 GB of data for $20 per month; 3 GB for $35; 5 GB for $50 and 10 GB for $80. A Verizon spokeswoman, Brenda Raney, confirmed to FierceWireless that Xoom customers who buy the EV-DO version will not have to change their plans when they upgrade to LTE.

The nation's largest carrier is selling the Xoom for $600 when paired with a two-year contract and $800 without a contract. At deadline, a Verizon spokeswoman could not clarify as to whether all future LTE tablets will have the same data pricing as the carrier's current EV-DO tablets.

Last week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said the Xoom is worth $800 (sans contract)--despite the fact that the 32 GB version of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad with AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) no-contract HSPA+ service retails for $729. "We felt that our ability to deliver 50 Mbps (via LTE) would justify the $799 price point," Jha said. "It is 32 GB with 3G and a free upgrade to 4G. Being competitive with iPad is important. We feel that from the hardware and capabilities we deliver we are at least competitive and in a number of ways better [than the iPad]."

Verizon has said its LTE network delivers average real-world downlink performance of 5-12 Mbps and real-world uplink speeds of 2-5 Mbps.

For more:
- see this MobileBurn post
- see this Verizon FAQ page
- see this Verizon page

Related Articles:
Verizon offers $200 subsidy for Motorola Xoom
Motorola's Jha: LTE justifies Xoom tablet's $800 price tag
Motorola unveils Xoom, Android 'Honeycomb' tablet
Qualcomm unveils quad-core Snapdragon chipset for tablets
RIM teases LTE, HSPA+ versions of the PlayBook