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

Zach Epstein
August 31st, 2009 at 11:33 AM

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 worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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