After so many months of speculation and leaks, one of the few surprises to come out of yesterday's Verizon announcement was the fact that the carrier did not announce any pricing structure for data plans on its network. Following rumors that the nation's largest carrier would be offering the same unlimited data plan
it offers its other smartphone customers, this omission was a big disappointment. So how much will it cost to have an iPhone on Verizon? Observers are divided, with some suggesting that "all you can eat" may be more than you can afford.
As of right now, Verizon offers 150 MB of data to its smartphone customers at $15/month, or unlimited for $29.99. You can get a text message plan that covers 5,000 texts or unlimited mobile to mobile for $20 a month, and an unlimited voice plan for $69.99. The cheapest text plan is 20 cents per text, and the cheapest voice plan is $39.99 for 450 minutes a month. The Verizon FAQ
is surprisingly silent about what the cost of iPhone data plans will be, saying only that customers are "required to activate a data package, pricing will be announced at a later date." This isn't a good sign as far as the unlimited data plan goes; if they were planning on offering such a deal, you'd expect them to advertise it pretty heavily. Some observers think that existing customers of Verizon who change to the iPhone will be able to keep their current plans at the current prices
, so that might explain the rumors about unlimited data if true. But what about new customers?
According to Rob Enderle, an analyst interviewed by Computerworld
, there will be tiered plans, ranging from $20 to $90 per month, with the unlimited plan coming in at a staggering $120 per month. While these numbers seem high, it's important to remember that Verizon has tiered data plans for the Samsung Galaxy Tab last year, with the top plan costing $80 a month for 10GB, with $10 for each added 1GB. Combined with Verizon's unlimited voice and texting plans, this means it's possible that a monthly bill for iPhone service would be as high as $300. Other analysts believe Verizon will keep its current pricing structure for the iPhone, with Dan Hays, a consultant at PRTM, arguing that "Verizon would be hard-pressed to justify a pricing difference between one smartphone in its portfolio and another." The question remains, though, whether Verizon might take this opportunity to raise prices for all smartphones, including the iPhone.
Whatever the ultimate price, it seems like it would be a bad move for Verizon to make it very different from what AT&T offers for the iPhone currently. Verizon is counting on millions of people to make the switch, and asking them to pay more per month - in addition to early termination fees of up to $325 - for data that they can't use while talking on the phone may be too much for all but the most fervent AT&T haters.