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

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.

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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: Verizon, Smartphones, AT&T

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19 comments
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  • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

    Wow, without these columns I wouldn't have figured this out.
    slickjim
  • I think that as of today Sprint is the best...

    I have a family plan with unlimited data for $30 for each of 5 EVO 4G lines.

    And the reason I left AT&T and did not join Verizon is described in the article.

    YMMV
    Solid Water
    • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

      @Solid Water

      I couldn't afford a smart phone and data plan when the unlimited plans were available. Now, I never will be able to afford a smart phone because the data plans are engineered to sap you of as much money as possible. On the bright side, I don't actually need one either. It is just a toy for most people. I have other toys.
      mlashinsky
  • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

    I have the 150MB $15 plan Verizon offered last December when I added an Android phone and converted to a Family plan. I knew the data plan wouldn't be available long. I use Wi-Fi at home and hot spots wherever I can and average less than 100MB per month. I know I am an extreme exception but it works for me.
    Old EE
    • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

      @Old EE
      Not that extreme, ditto for my wife, but she stays under 50MB a month. With wifi at work and home and nearly every restaurant on the continent, I wonder how people use that much data. What are they doing, watching movies in their car? How much necessary data (not goofing around) can people use away from wifi anyway? I want to upgrade to an android phone and use the $10, 75MB plan they offer with basic phones, but they won't let me do it. So I'm stuck with a basic phone cuz I refuse to pay more than $15. Can we sue them? In America, can they refuse to sell me the $10 basic plan if I want it? You'd think they'd jump at the chance to lure all those cheap but non-thrifty users out there with the $10 price, and then sock them with the overage charges! (While I walk around smiling with my android phone and 40MB usage)
      supposer
  • It would be nice if the people who wrote these columns...

    ...understood mathematics -- ratios, specifically.

    You mean the "bandwidth-to-cost ratio" is too LOW.

    Sheesh.
    GrizzledGeezer
    • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

      @GrizzledGeezer<br>I sympathize with your point, but here, the author's phrasing is right. He is just suffering from very bad sentence construction.<br>The ratios in comparison here are the 15MB:$1 and 13.3:$1 plans from Verizon and AT&T, respectively. As you can see, the 15:1 plan ratio is higher. The problem is that this sentence is at odds with his main point, which he makes with his next sentence, which then muddies the situation, namely that the bandwidth to cost ratio here is MUCH LOWER than in the next tier Verizon Plan, the 66.7 MB:$1 plan. This is exacerbated by how easy it is to go over the monthly allotment, thus potentially entering into a 7.5:1 ratio if one goes over by only 1 MB.
      .DeusExMachina.
      • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

        @deusexmachina AGREED. Ed is saying the ratio is "quite high" when comparing it to AT&T. (15:1 vs. 13.3:1). But overall, the ratio is indeed low, especially compared to the $30 a month for 2GB, as you mentioned. (66.67:1). Ed totally fracked up his point. But to answer his ending question, this is a HORRIBLE deal, as are all data plans.
        thomascwhitfield
      • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

        @thomascwhitfield

        Wait. Ed? Who is Ed?
        .DeusExMachina.
      • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

        @deusexmachina <br>Touche to "@thomascwhitfield" regarding "who is Ed?"! <br>Bottom line - we're ALL screwed by ALL the carriers, manufacturers, on & on....<br><br>It's the lesser of evils. I have had HTC high end devices since they came on my native carrier, Alltell. This was when I was working and not disabled. Now that I am and pretty much home bound, the phone rarely even gets turned on. Instead I use my partners Verizon basic phone (text blocked) to make mobile 2 mobile or "family circle" or what ever candy coating they are calling it this month. <br><br>My 2 yr. contract on my current smart phone expires the end of this month. I'm buying an unbranded - open phone for full price so I can tote it wherever I want. Trust - it will be a basic phone that does what it's supposed to do - make reliable connections on the phone side and have at minimum, a contact database that I can sync w/my 'putter.<br><br>I am "so way over" text messages, social networks, marketing etc over the years, I am now quite content to go to my computer email account (private URL in my name - portable to any ISP I want), telephone or (god forbid) writing a letter (it's really a lost art!).<br><br>Life is good, blood pressure is down and I have a hell of allot more privacy - something I almost had forgotten how precious it was/is.<br><br>Cheers to all, enjoy the info and feed back.
        ncironman
  • Bandwidth bandits

    The Companies know what phones you want and they make sure that you pay dearly for the use of them...wonder who is worse.....phone companies or Politicians.....they're all a bunch of crooks
    billthomson
  • I paid roughly US$14 for 500MB in Germany

    U.S. wireless carriers are ripping off their customers. 3 months ago I walked into a coffee shop in Germany, paid 10 Euros for a SIM (approximately US$14 at the time) and another 10 Euros for 500MB of data good for up to a month. I had taken an unlocked GSM based MI-Fi with me to power my Verizon smartphone via Wi-Fi.

    After returning to the U.S. I acquired a used netbook with a builtin 3G cellular modem. For $20 Verizon will let me tether to my smartphone with up to 2GB ... mind you I already pay Verizon $30 for my phone's data. Do you think Verizon might give an existing customer some kind of break on instead using the netbook's built-in 3G access? After all, I am highly unlikely to be grabbing data hand over fist from both devices at the same time. Not a chance. Open up your wallet buddy - no wider.

    AT&T isn't much better and that's why I'm not using my Mi-Fi here in the U.S. [neither Sprint nor T-Mobile are available in my area]
    Jim Johnson
  • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

    disregarding quibbles over how best to express a ratio in plain English, this is an excellent article. I received information I did not previously have, particularly the high contrast of 15 MB for $20.00 USD to 2 GB for $30.00 USD.

    As a programmer and all around geek I always worry about overages. If my math is correct it would appear that with the "Discount" plan I pay $1.34/MB against $0.015/MB.

    Really comes down to are you a Shop-Rite type customer or a Costco customer.
    jsimonini
    • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

      @jsimonini You have that all wrong. There is no plan that gives you 15 MB for $20. Wrong wrong wrong...try reading a little slower maybe...
      thomascwhitfield
  • Blackberry data usage usually small

    If you use a Blackberry, you can often get by with the smaller plans because data to the phone is compressed. Newer Blackberrys with better browsers might change that, but for Email, Facebook, BBM and such, you can usually get by with the cheaper data plan. I'm a fairly heavy user and I seldom go above 75mb of data a month.
    John Hanks
  • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

    To the point: I think it would be foolish to take Verizon up on its 300MB "deal".

    Then again, I have not found a data plan yet that I am willing to pay for. Hence, I have a PDA with WiFi in one pocket and a moronphone (as opposed to smartphone) in the other. If I have to choose, 9 times out of 10 I will leave the phone behind. It's my wife's plan and the ONLY reason I have a phone is because I'm the $10 adder. Otherwise, I'd throw Big Red under the bus with the rest of the profiteers.

    I can't blame them for charging all the market will stand. That's free market and that's the way it works. What makes me sad is that so many of us have allowed themselves to become so dependent on being plugged in that the market stands quite a sinful lot.
    trailbarge1
    • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

      @trailbarge1

      That was well put. I won't even get a smart phone or wifi pda. I don't travel enough places that have opened wifi for me to use. If I am at home, I will sit down at my computer, not the phone. When I am out of the house, I have my cell phone with me, and most of the time I dread answering that!
      mlashinsky
  • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

    I heard a rumor and wonder if it's true...is it true that existing VZW customers who already had the unlimited data plan prior to the whole tiered data plan debacle get to keep their unlimited plans EVEN upon upgrading? I've tried asking VZW about it but can't get a straight answer...it sounds too good to be true, but I still hold out hope!
    china_cat84
  • RE: Verizon's $20 for 300 MB 'budget' data plan is expensive

    Guess, no data for me, just hope the new iPod touch has larger screen, and better camera. As stated in comments above, carriers are just a bunch of crooks, and know most customers are just sheep.
    JunitoNH