Verizon Attempts To Be More Competitive With Smartphone Plan Pricing - InformationWeek

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4/14/2008
09:43 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Verizon Attempts To Be More Competitive With Smartphone Plan Pricing

Of all the national wireless operators, Verizon was charging a bit more than any other for smartphones and PDAs to access vital things such as e-mail and the Web. As of today, Verizon changed up the rates it charges Small Office/Home Office users, and is even offering a new hosted Exchange-based e-mail service to boot.

Of all the national wireless operators, Verizon was charging a bit more than any other for smartphones and PDAs to access vital things such as e-mail and the Web. As of today, Verizon changed up the rates it charges Small Office/Home Office users, and is even offering a new hosted Exchange-based e-mail service to boot.These are welcome changes for Verizon Wireless's most profitable customers. Before today, it charged in the neighborhood of $45 per month for unlimited data plans for smartphones (before the addition of a voice plan). Today, that price drops to a much more palatable $30 per month. That $30 will now get users unlimited access to Web and up to 10 personal e-mail accounts, including free Internet e-mail providers such as AOL, Windows Live, and Yahoo.

This plan does not, however, support Exchange, and is not necessarily meant for enterprise users. It is more relevant to the everyday smartphone user and mobile professional who has e-mail accounts served by e-mail servers other than Microsoft. Still, the inclusion of unlimited Web access is a nice step forward.

In comparison, AT&T also charges $30 per month for PDA and smartphone users. It charges iPhone users just $20 per month for unlimited mobile Web access, and according to reports, those users are making the most of it, with usage through the roof.

On top of this change, Verizon also has added a new hosted e-mail service to its offering. For $8 per month, it is offering the power of Microsoft's Exchange server and will allow syncing of corporate e-mail (POP3 and IMAP), calendar and contact information. It also comes with 25 MB of online e-mail storage. If you have a little bit more room in your budget, bump your monthly spending up to $15 and you'll get a bunch more features. They include 100 MB of e-mail storage, Outlook Mobile access, Outlook Anywhere, ActiveSync, Outlook PC client, and the ability to expand beyond the standard storage allotment for just 75 cents per month.

As with the other plan, this one targets the SMB that perhaps has a Microsoft Exchange server, but doesn't want to go with a full BlackBerry solution. "Our research has shown that small businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals from an array of industries need e-mail pushed directly to their handsets so they can be responsive to their customers while out of the office," said Robert Miller, VP of marketing from Verizon Wireless in a prepared statement. "Hosted VZEmail Services are professional e-mail solutions that give customers options to suit their specific needs at an affordable price."

The new plans are available through Verizon's business channels and Verizon Communication stores beginning today. Unfortunately, they aren't compatible with all smartphone models just yet, but that will change over the comings weeks. If your smartphone is compatible, feel free to change 'em up, and save some cash.

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