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Verizon confirms $30 unlimited data plan for iPhone

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 25, 2011
'Jump on it,' recommends analyst. 'It won't last.'

FRAMINGHAM 25 JANUARY 2011 - Verizon will retain its $30 monthly fee for unlimited data when the iPhone 4 launches in two weeks, the company confirmed today.

Earlier Tuesday, Lowell McAdam, Verizon's COO, told the Wall Street Journal, that the carrier would offer its unlimited data plan to new iPhone customers, adding that high prices would stifle switching from AT&T, still the only U.S. carrier that offers Apple's iconic smartphone. "I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot," he told the newspaper.

Also today, a Verizon customer service representative said that iPhone 4 customers will be able to sign up for the $30 unlimited data plan, although he left the door open to last-minute changes.

Later, a Verizon spokeswoman confirmed McAdam's comments. "Lowell [McAdam] did say that the $29.99 data plan, available now for smartphone customers, would be available for iPhone customers," she said in an e-mail reply to questions.

Verizon and Apple will start selling the iPhone 4 on Feb. 10, with existing Verizon customers getting first crack when the carrier begins taking pre-orders Thursday, Feb. 3.

Verizon's current data plans include a $15 per month plan that allows 150MB of data on 3G devices, and a $29.99 per month plan for unlimited data.

Voice plans at the carrier start at $39.99 for 450 minutes, and top out at $69.99 for unlimited calling minutes.

Previously, analysts split over whether Verizon would raise the price of its data plans with the iPhone's debut, with Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group claiming the carrier would charge as much as $120 per month for unlimited data if tethering was included.

"They're not offering unlimited tethering," said Enderle today, noting that Verizon doesn't offer that to customers, but instead limits data to 2GB monthly for its $20 per month mobile hotspot service.

Verizon's iPhone will be the first to offer what Apple's dubbed "Personal Hotspot," an integrated MiFi capability that provides 3G cellular access to up to five Wi-Fi devices.

Another analyst said today's confirmation by Verizon was in line with most experts' projections.

"It's not unexpected," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates. "It is interesting that they're allowing an unlimited plan, because in the long term they're unsustainable. There's only so much bandwidth."

Later Tuesday, Verizon's McAdam said that the $30 unlimited data plan for the iPhone 4 would be a temporary offer, and that the company would, like its rival AT&T, shift to a more granular tiered pricing model soon.


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