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Verizon “Enhanced Multimedia Phones” to require data plans, death of the Vpak, and more

In this day and age, carriers are all about data and rightfully so. Subscribers are becoming more reliant on data-dependent mobile apps and services each day, and carriers are hardly about to miss out on the potential revenue — just look at how many people gobbled up AT&T’s $30 iPhone data plan without batting an eye. Verizon is pushing data just as hard as any other carrier (BlackBerry BOGO, anyone?) and come September, Big Red is turning up the heat even more. One of our ninjas hit us with a brief internal VZW slide deck and it details several new policies about to go into place — the most notable change being the introduction of a new device class: the “Enhanced Multimedia Phone”. To fall into this new category, a handset must have an HTML Web browser, EV-DO Rev. A, a QWERTY keypad and it must launch on or after September 8th; making the Samsung Rogue VZW’s first handset to meet the criteria.

Enhanced Multimedia Phones might not be smartphones but they will require a data plan just like their big brothers and sisters. Customers who snatch up an Enhanced Multimedia Phone will be required to chose a data plan of $9.99 for 25MB or $19.99 for 75MB. Other changes currently brewing at Verizon include the death of the $15 VCAST Vpak (current subscribers grandfathered) and introduction of a $10 “VCAST Video On Demand” plan. For those unfamiliar with the option, the Vpak provided unlimited data for feature phones whereas the new $10 VCAST plan will only provide unlimited videos, thus requiring either the $9.99 or $19.99 data option for users wanting Web, email, etc (or pay $1.99/MB without a data plan). Hit the jump for a larger version of the slide above along with the rest of this short but informative deck.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.