What Will a Verizon iPhone Mean to You?
So, you've decided to pay the ETF or wiggle out of your contract, or you weren't saddled with a contract agreement in the first place. How much more expensive will Verizon Wireless be than your current plan? That depends on what sort of plan you have, but here are a few estimates.
First, let's assume that Verizon Wireless offers the same sort of rate plan for new iPhone buyers that it offers for current Droid and BlackBerry users. A smartphone is a smartphone, after all, even if it comes from Apple. A fully loaded smartphone plan from Verizon Wireless costs $110 to $125 or more. That $110 price gives you unlimited minutes and unlimited text messages, plus unlimited data, as long as you promise not to use a corporate email account (Microsoft Exchange). If you use an Exchange account, Verizon wants $15 more per month for data. If you want to use your phone as a tethered modem, you'll pay another $20 on top of that. So, you could spend up to $145 on a Verizon Wireless iPhone account, assuming Verizon doesn't offer some sort of special deal for the new device.
I assume that there are three types of customers interested in the iPhone. First, there are messaging addicts. These folks use a bare minimum of minutes, and spend most of their time messaging. They skipped data on their current feature phone, since it didn't have a great browser anyway. But now they want something new and more powerful, and they've been waiting for Verizon to get the iPhone before climbing on board.
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If you're coming from this lifestyle, expect your monthly bills to almost double, depending on your current carrier. Sprint and T-Mobile users have probably been paying $50 per month before taxes and fees. AT&T quick messaging users have probably been paying $60 - $70 per month for similar service. Unless Verizon offers an unlikely bargain, your month just got a lot more expensive.
Second, there are the smartphone bargain hunters. These folks use the bare minimum of minutes, send a few texts a month and only use data for email. Some BlackBerry users or frugal smartphone owners fit this type.
These users will see an extra $50 or so increase in their monthly bill. Again, AT&T charges the most for these folks, who are probably paying between $60 and $75 per month, depending on how many messages you send. Verizon and T-Mobile users who are being frugal about their smartphones are probably paying $60 a month as well. Sprint users might be paying more, but getting unlimited data and text messages, with 450 minutes, for $70 monthly.
Finally, there are the harcore power users. These folks want unlimited everything. All the minutes, text and data they can possibly consume. These folks should still expect to may more if they switch to Verizon Wireless, but not much more, probably about $10 - $15 per month. Sprint users are paying $100 for unlimited everything, or $10 more if they use a new 4G phone (even if they aren't covered by the 4G network). T-Mobile charges $100 for unlimited everything.
AT&T users are paying $115 per month for unlimited calling and text messaging, as well as 2GB of data. AT&T's data cap offers the least amount of data among the major carriers. Verizon Wireless' own "unlimited plan" actually offers 5GB of data before the overage fees start kicking in. If Verizon sticks to its current pricing, new iPhone owners who do not pay extra for corporate messaging might actually save money with Verizon, while corporate users will pay about $10 more, monthly.
Of course, there are other charges to consider. AT&T gives away visual voicemail on its iPhone for free. We're not sure if Verizon Wireless will do the same, but it currently charges smartphone users $3 extra per month for the feature. Both AT&T and Verizon charge $10 per month extra for their own branded turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps, though Android users get this service for free on every network.
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