Verizon tests $20 entry-level 300 MB smartphone promotion

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will introduce an entry-level, $20-per-month data plan with 300 MB as part of a back-to-school promotion, a spokeswoman confirmed. However, it's unclear if the data plan will last beyond the promotion or how widespread the offer will be.

All new and existing customers in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are eligible for the promotion, which runs from Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed to FierceWireless. The data plan will be available for both feature phone and smartphone customers when it is added to an existing voice plan.

Raney declined to name other markets that will offer the plan or say if it will be extended. She said other Verizon regional presidents may announce the promotion at a later date. The promotion was first reported by the blog Phandroid.

Starting July 7, Verizon began offering usage-based data plans for new smartphone customers. New smartphone customers can choose from one of three options: $30 for 2 GB, $50 for 5 GB or $80 for 10 GB. There is an overage charge of $10 per GB of data. Verizon also charges $10 for 75 MB per month for feature phone users.

Other carriers that offer usage-based smartphone data pricing have entry-level plans. T-Mobile USA offers 200 MB add-on for $10 per month, and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) offers 250 MB for $15. 

Speaking recently at the Oppenheimer Technology & Communications Conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said he expects customers to move into the carrier's $50 and $80 tiers as they use LTE devices with multimedia capabilities. "Usage is on an escalating scale," he said. "The tiered pricing will become more important as times goes on than it is today." However, he did not give a timeframe for when he expects that kind of transition to take place.

For more:
- see this Phandroid post

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Correction, Aug. 15, 2011: This article originally stated the Verizon promotion will be available in its Mid-Atlantic region. The carrier does not have a Mid-Atlantic region, but the promotion will be available in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.