Data Plans Now Required On Verizon 3G Feature Phones

Verizon Logo Verzion is making a number of  pricing changes effective Monday, January 18.  There’s some good news for heavy talkers, unlimited voice pricing is being reduced from $99.99 to $69.99 and unlimited talk and messaging is dropping  from $119.99 to $89.99. Family plans see similar reductions.  Prices for voice plans  other than unlimited aren’t changing

However the news on the data front is not so good. A data plan will be required for anyone switching to most 3G capable non-smartphones (a.k.a. ” feature phones”) as either a phone change or a new line of service.  There will be two available data packages; 25 MB for $9.99 /month ($500/GB) and “unlimited” (capped at 5 GB) for $29.99/month.  The current $19.95/month, 75 MB option  has been dropped.  Smartphone purchasers will continue to be required to add the $29.95 unlimited option. Current users of 3G feature phones will not be affected unless they switch phones or renew their contracts.

On the one hand mandatory data plans might encourage users to actually use the web on their phones since they are paying for whether they use it or not.  25 MB isn’t much data so users who do more than a little browsing will quickly burn through the initial allowance.  Verizon did reduce the overage charge on the $9.99 plan from 50 cents/MB  to a semi-reasonable 20 cents/MB ($200/MB).

On the other hand it seems nasty to raise the monthly cost for customers who want to switch to one of Verizon’s hot selling feature 3G phones like the LG Env Touch, Env3 and Chocolate Touch. I suspect that the majority of Verizon feature phone buyers do not use data and that many opt for a 3G phone not because it has 3G, but for styling,  “cool” factor or  other features like a better camera, music player or QWERTY keyboard.

I actually think that these changes could hurt Verizon’s bottom line.   Being forced to purchase a data plan that they have no intention of using with a recurring cost of $240 over the life of a two year contract won’t help with customer satisfaction or loyalty.  It might discourage quite a few users from upgrading and thus extending their contracts.  Out of contract customers represent potential churn, especially if competitors offer more desirable phones at a lower monthly cost. A lot depends on what the competition does.  AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile currently do not require data plans on feature phones and their optional data plans offer better value than Verizon’s. Unlimited data for 3G feature phones is $10/month on T-Mobile and $15/month on AT&T and Sprint.  Assuming the others don’t raise data rates or make data plans mandatory on non-smartphones, switching operators could start looking mighty attractive to Verizon feature phone users whether they use data or not.

102 thoughts on “Data Plans Now Required On Verizon 3G Feature Phones

  1. I’ve been eligible for an upgrade since June. So why do I still hold on to my ENV3? Pick your poison. Pay a butt-load extra with a phone just as decent as my old phone is, or downgrade to an outdated, piece of crap like the Intensity. Who in their right mind would want to DOWNGRADE their phone? Geez Verizon, sort your shit out.

  2. i think this charge is absolutely stupid.i was gonna renew with verizon .but now i have decited to go with at&t.wise up verizon drop that stupid charge.

  3. I am glad to see there are others that are dropping verizon because of the ridiculous data plan requirement. What gets me is I have all Verizon provided services; computer, land line, and cell. I recently ruined my phone in water, and wanted to replace it with a “CPO” phone. Guess, what? Can’t! Only brand new customers can get the “CPO” phones. You’d think they would let a long time customer replace her phone with a “refurbished” one. That should be an option for all customers, all the time. And the full prices vs. the “2-year contract” prices are totally unjustifiable(?). And, of course, the phone I would like-just for voice, text, and calender-requires a data plan…the $29.99 one. And going to the store-forget any real help. I am switching from Verizon as well, as soon as I can.

  4. I dropped my Krave in water, we have several months before we “upgrade”, I just want a “stupid” phone, I barely text & do not need or more importantly I DO NOT WANT a data plan on my phone – Verizon store was completely useless in helping us solve the dilemma (we have 3 phones on contract – all ending at various times, but one by one they will NOT be renewed)
    I’m in the restaurant business so lets say you are my loyal customer and come in 3 times a week, but now when you want to eat at my restaurant I say you have to buy a Ham Sandwich whther you want it or not….yeah get the picture Verizon??? NO MORE HAM SANDWICHES!

  5. I wonder how long it’ll take Verizon to figure out their profits aren’t improving by much.

  6. Just went in today for a new phone and encountered this data plan requirement. Not even possible to buy a phone and use it as a dumbphone. Oh and anything remotely attractive that didn’t require a data plan was currently not being stocked at any of the stores I went to. When I asked why, he said that they were clearing out for the 4Gs, to be released second quarter. See you in hell, Verizon. I wasn’t asking for much, just wanted to replace a broken phone. Didn’t even need something sexy, just wanted some basic PDA abilities. Oh well, guess they just lost another family.

  7. I too have to chime in about Verizon and it’s forced data plans. I can see why they don’t offer a data plan that is only pay if you use. I have been a loyal verizon fan for many years and never considered changing but I like most of you speaking up have had enough. Besides the upgraded phone after 2 years which to me dosen’t seem so great after all I can get the same deal if i was new to Verizon, so what favor are they doing me?? Just had to voice my dissatifaction with Verizon and hope they are listening!!!!!!

  8. Way to screw up, Verizon! Just lost a loyal costumer all because of a stupid $9.99 data charge which I won’t even use. I spend enough time as it is on the internet. Give me a break Verizon. They’re forcing us to pay an extra $9.99 and I pay enough already. Get your complaints to Verizon so it get switched back. Pleeeez!

  9. I agree too….3 lines, when contract is up, we are going elsewhere. They could at least offer a family data pkg like Sprint. The rep I talked to, said they would never go down to Sprint’s pricing, because they think their service is so much better, and they are a much bigger company. I told her yea!, only after you offered “Verizon to Verizon calling” for free, your customer base grew with leaps and bounds. I also told her that is what is going to happen now to all the other companies that offer family data plans! They will grow with leaps and bounds, while Verizon’s customer base dwindles and dwindles. We all need to stand our ground!! Businesses only grow, when they offer Us, the customers, what WE WANT! So lets all hold out for what we want, at the prices we think are fair! Or just go where you can find it now! Come January, my business will go elsewhere!

  10. I am offended! I feel they think we are too stupid to know the difference and we’ll simply roll over and let them walk all over us…I will switch to Sprint even if I have to do it line by line. 2 in January and 2 a year later…it will give me the opportunity to compare service and coverage however I will be paying what I pay know for more “unlimited” services thought Sprint. VZ is nickel and diming us and I will not stand for it…maybe if enough of us switch they will revise their greedy and abusive policies. I am loyal to VZ no more!

  11. Theresa, You are very incorrect about at&t. IF you activate a smart phone with at&t, yes they will charge you data because you have a smart phone. I.e. iphones always have data plans. HOwever, if you want a feature phone which they offer several like the samsung mythic for example or the lg VU2 you have the option of getting data OR a messaging plan. They do not force you into a data plan. There are lots of ways to interact with the online community using SMS alerts and these are feature phones that most people use for messaging. YOu can even update your status of facebook,twitter, etc with only sms alerts. AT&T is smart enough to know this and will give you the option when using feature phones.

  12. Re: Brian “having another 6 months to avoid a penalty”

    You can always sell your phone on Craigslist or ebay and use the profit to cover you ETF on that last phone. That’s what my wife and I did, both sold our Env2’s for 80 bucks each.

  13. I am a long time Verizon customer, and, for the first time, am considering switching to another provider. Between all of my family members, we have 5 phones. If we were to upgrade all 5 phones then we would be paying approximately $70/month more including tax. I am unwilling to pay that. It is very disappointing to me that verizon is doing this as I have always upgraded my phone. Currently, we all have env2’s. If we were to “upgrade” to a phone that doesn’t require a data plan, it would be an inferior phone to the env2. Why would I do that? That would be a “downgrade” not an “upgrade”. Currently I am several months past my upgrade date & have not yet renewed. The only reason I am staying with Verizon is because we have one phone that will require another 6 months to avoid a penalty when switching to another provider…..and, unless verizon changes this, that is exactly what I am going to do!!!….A very unhappy, formerly loyal, verizon customer

  14. my wife was up for an upgrade and we found out about this crap. We are going to pay the ETF which will be recouped by selling our env2’s worth an easy 80 each. (esp now).

    I am so outraged about this because you can use feature phones to interact with the online community without ever having a data plan using sms alerts. update status, see replies, follow friends, bank alerts etc.

    I checked out the feature phones on AT&T and they offer you the option of having a data plan OR a messaging plan. Needless to say we are switching to AT&T and getting a set of Samsung Flight 2’s on their family plan 69.99 with unlimited messaging for an additional 30. (99.99 total).

    Thanks AT&T for understanding American’s love options, independence, and freedom to use messaging phones on messaging plans.

    p.s. If you do like data plans, AT&T actually offers unlimited data for about 10 bucks a line on Feature phones which is a thousand times better than verizon’s forced 25mb per line.

  15. BP is playing in the Golf and another British-based(Vodafone Group)company, having fun with our wallet

    • The company is a joint venture of U.S. telecommunications firm Verizon Communications and British-based multinational mobile network operator Vodafone Group

  16. I am as mad as the rest of you with this forced data cost I don’t want. I would love to stick to Verizon, but i feel like they have you over a barrel. With multiple phones and contracts, telling them to pound sand is costly. Plus they have the best coverage. This is like making me buy government health care whether I want it or not. It has to be a violation of some Consumer Rights Act. I will make my voice heard.

  17. I for one submitted a BBB complaint about this as I have an existing 3G multi-media phone with no contract. Verizon refuses to allow me to change my hand set and grandfather my status due to my existing handset. Being slamed to a service just so you can get a camera phone better than their bottom of the barrel 1.3 on all their normal phones, or being able to listen to music should not constute a $10 monthly fee for the prividilige of using one of their phones. I would encourage anyone and everyone to follow the steps needed to instute change in a company. (I.E the BBB and the FTC) it seems thats the only way a business will listen is by force.

  18. when running a business, the first thing you should do is always establish a good customer service””:

  19. I’m glad to see that many of you are as annoyed by this as I am. I actually called Verizon today to file a complaint about this new method of of screwing their customers. If they really feel the need to capitalize on the whole internet obsessed generation, then they need to be able to offer comparable phones for those who will never need or use a data plan. I for one spend enough time in front of my computer and don’t need it to follow me around. It’s absurd that long-time customers who already pay too much for calling plans have to pay that much more to avoid having to “upgrade” to a poorer quality phone.

  20. so i have the oldest phone in the book. its flip and really slow. and i go to verizon and check out the new phones and i see this sweet one but then they say. oh that one comes with a ten dollar monthly fee. im like screw thatt! then i see this other one thats not even a touch screen and he says again ” for that phone its required to have a data package” ughhh im really pissed at verizon right now. and im ready to complain on their customer service. but idk how too. ha

  21. Purchased 2 motorola droids in February of this year. I knew we would have some kind of data so didnt even think about it. It wasnt until AFTER I purchased the phones and they transferred all of the information that they told me that the Droid REQUIRED the $29.99 data plan. Partly my fault for not getting all of the info before finalizing the purchase but you would think they would explain everything to you, after all, that was a good sale for that rep.

  22. Verizon’s new data plan has really made me mad. My daughter’s phone broke & that’s when I learned her replacement phone will cost an extra $10 a month for an unwanted data pkg. What Verizon, $220 a month is not enough? I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

  23. I just went to replace my daughters phone and was told the news.While $ 9.99 doesn’t sound like much, it adds up. I also am upset that I am being made to pay for something I don’t want my daughter to have.Yes, I could get her a non 3G phone….try telling a teenager her choice is a flip phone to text from. As a parent trying to set an example, did have her use a less than desirable phone for 2 years.Now I was upgrading her phone and ran up against this.Sorry verizon we are moving her plan to Att and the rest of the family will join her in September when our plans expire.

  24. I too am out Verizon. I have been a customer with the same primary number since 1989. My kid lost his ENVY3. With a replacemnt comes an extra $10 more a month. Enough! I am going to buy out the 1 remaining contract on the family plans and bale. The grass is greener across the street, Verizon.

  25. I, like many of the other posters, have been a long-time VZW customer with 5 lines for almost 15 years. After going into the Verizon store and being told that most of the half-way decent phones require the $9.99 per month fee, I protested at the store (sorry we can’t help you), to Verizon Customer Service (sorry we can’t help you), online (no response), and finally to Consumer Reports Magazine (hoping that they will take publicize and put pressure on Verizon to change this anti-consumer, bone-headed move.)

    As soon as our contract is up, we will be moving five lines to anything but Verizon. Nothing like screwing the loyal customers.

  26. I agree with everyone about being forced to pay for something you don’t use. I was looking at the phones that don’t require data, and the reviews are not very good.
    They are the LG Cosmos, Samsung Intensity, Knack, and Smooth, does anyone have any comments or suggestions on any of these?
    Thank you

    • I would recommend the Samsung Smooth except for 1 thing. The buttons on the side are just too easily pushed. I’ll bet I have 5000 pictures of my pocket. Other than that a great phone

  27. i’m confused about the $9.99 data package plan does it cost more every time you go on the browser? If it doesn’t does it cost more if you go over 25 MB?

    • You are charged $9.99 per monthly billing cycle whether you use data in that cycle or not. If you use more than 25 MB in a billing cycle you will be charged 20 cents per MB for the usage over 25 MB

    • With all these comments regarding people unhappy about being forced to pay the $9.99/month per phone for a data package that you don’t want – I encourage you all to complain to customer service and insist on talking to a supervisor (or higher). If enough people complain and threaten to leave Verizon, I think they will make a change to this. I have seen it happen in the past where Verizon decided to turn off the text messaging delivery confirmation notification. (the green check mark on your sent messages that tells you the message was delivered). After many people complained, they turned it back on. So I do believe in the saying The squeaky wheel gets the grease. But it won’t happen if you don’t voice it higher up than just a Customer Service Rep.

  28. I have a question, and I’m hoping if one of you could help answer it! My boyfriend is giving me his new EnV3 (which I LOVE), and currently I am not on contract with Verizon, because I have bought my last couple phones on websites like eBay and Amazon. When I go to activate the EnV3, will I still be forced to pay the $9.99 fee for at least two years? Or just as long as I have the phone? Or even at all? I am very frustrated with all this confusion Verizon is causing…

    • To the best of my knowledge the env3 will require a data package as it has a QWERTY keyboard and and what Verizon calls a “HTML Browser” and either of these features alone is enough to trigger the data plan requirement.

      You might want to take a look at PagePlus , a MVNO or reseller of Verizon services with very good rates ($45/month unlimited talk/text, 29.95/month 1200 minutes/1200 texts or pay as you go as low as 4 cents/minute, 8cents/text) and no mandatory data plan requirements. The ENV3 can be used on PagePlus.

  29. Ya this new plan is ridiculous! All I want is a decent phone, and now to get that our family would have to pay an added $90 a month! Verizon better change this before it loses many more customers.

  30. Yep, 4 more accounts now being lost by Verizon. I don’t get it. Charging me a “family” charge of 29.99 for all my phones to use, Maybe. But for this charge added on to every phone, whether it’s used on the web, 3g , or not.. is sending my on my way. Wake up Verizon!!

  31. Same problem here. My upgrade is due next month and I found out about the data requirement a few months ago. I would keep the phone I have (Motorola Krave) but it sucks. No good low-end phones for talk and text. That is all I want and need. I want a large screen, qwerty keyboard, good reception, good sound quality, good battery life, fast phone for talk and text… nothing more. This IS 2010 right?? If I wanted the web on my phone, I would switch to T-Mobile for the lower price. Come on Verizon, wake up…
    I have submitted complaints with all appropriate agencies and suggest you all do the same unless you want to be held by your bootstraps and shaken for all your loose change.

  32. That is very lame of Verizon to do. I think I’ll take my family pland and five lines to another provider.

  33. I just left VZ afer 6 years. i had LG dare for 2 years, now im eligiable to upgrade to LG chocolate touch, but i have to pay $9.99 for data plan monthly which i don’t want to. I go to AT&T.what i have done is: i pay $79, get a Samsung mythic; $39.99 voice plan and $5 messaging service; 2 years contract.
    If i open my line phone at AT&T store directly, then $20 messaging service REQUIRES for samsung mythic, plus i have to pay $179 for the phone.
    So go to third party insteads of at&t store

Comments are closed.