Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

Summary:The bandwidth-to-cost ratio of Verizion's $20 "promotional data plan" is too high for it to be a good deal for cost-conscious and data-shy customers.

Verizon just introduced a promotional $20 for 300 MB data plan to give the cost-conscious and data-shy a taste of 3G/4G connectivity on their smartphones. Except the "budget" data plan is anything but.

The bandwidth-to-cost ratio with this $20 plan is actually quite high -- 15 MB per dollar versus 13.3 MB per dollar with AT&T's $15 for 200 MB plan -- but is masked by the cheaper price tag than Verizon's next tier, $30 for 2GB.

For users who never exceed 300 MB in a month, paying $20 rather than $30 a month to Verizon does help them save $120 a year. But a plan with such a low bandwidth geared specifically at smartphone users sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen, unless users are savvy enough to switch to Wi-Fi whenever possible and monitor their data usage religiously. Otherwise, Verizon customers who exceed 300 MB will be "automatically" dinged for another $20 for more data, which would make this plan more expensive and for less data than the $30 one.

This $20 "promotional data plan" is only rolling out to Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, and available to both new and existing customers between August 18 and September 30. Once Verizon discontinues this offer, the users will probably be directed to Verizon's more expensive plans.

What do you think? Do you think this $20 data plan is a good deal or a dud?

[Source: AT&T, Verizon press release via Engadget]

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones


Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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