By Stephen Schenck | April 30, 2012 5:28 PM
Smartphone users in the United States who’d rather have the flexibility of a prepaid service plan than a lengthy contract don’t have the most options available. As a result, when we do see a new choice pop-up, it quickly draws our interest; today, Verizon’s the target of our attention, upon its announcement of a new prepaid option specifically for smartphones.
Starting tomorrow, May 1, Verizon will start offering a monthly prepaid package consisting of unlimited voice, unlimited text, and 1GB of data. For now, you’ll be quite a bit limited as to your selection of phones for use with the new plan, with only the underpowered Samsung Illusion available, costing about $170. As the Illusion doesn’t support Verizon’s LTE network, you’ll be pulling that 1GB down at 3G speeds.
New prepaid smartphone options sound like a good thing, but is Verizon’s offer competitive? MetroPCS, for example, has unlimited voice, text, and data (speed-throttled after the first 2.5GB) for only $50 a month, substantially less than Verizon’s plan. MetroPCS also offers some higher-end phones, like the dual-core LG Connect 4G. We could see Verizon step things up in the future with some better phones for its own prepaid plan, but even for now, it’s worth considering that maybe the extent of Verizon’s network is worth paying a little premium to access maybe not to the tune of an extra $360 a year, but that’s a call you’ll have to make for yourself.