Verizon announced today the introduction of two prepaid plans which bundle together unlimited voice and texts exclusively for 3G smartphone owners. The company's $60 option includes a rather slim 500MB of data, but its $70 plan offers a more bountiful 2GB of monthly bandwidth.
Seeing that these plans are the prepaid variety, no contract is necessary and an upfront phone purchase isn't required. However, Verizon is offering the three models of 3G smartphones for customers who may want to start out their prepaid plan with a new device: Samsung Illusion ($100), BlackBerry Curve 3G 9310 ($300) and HTC Rhyme ($440). Of course, without a contract, you'll be paying sticker price for any new phone your purchase with the service.
For potential customers who have an aging smartphone stuffed in the back of their sock drawer though, Verizon says these plans will work with "many" Android, BlackBerry or iOS 3G smartphones. One such example they give is the HTC Droid Incredible 2.
In recent times, the industry has been placing a great deal of emphasis on prepaid wireless options. Sprint just announced its own prepaid line-up while value carriers like Metro PCS and Virgin have quickly gained prepaid converts.
The public exodus to prepaid plans isn't surprising though, when you consider the potential savings. Even after absorbing the cost of a higher-end smartphone, prepaid plans can cost far less than contracts over the span of two years – the length of a typical big-carrier contract. Incidentally, T-Mobile recently said it's doing away with contract phone subsidies all together – likely an attempt to differentiate itself from other national carriers amongst a seemingly burgeoning market of value-conscious consumers.