Optical/IP Networks

Verizon's Pricing Dash

America's largest mobile operator, Verizon Wireless, is clearly gearing up for the launch of Sprint PCS's (NYSE: PCS) nationwide CDMA2000 1xRTT network and the arrival of Virgin Mobile USA LLC on the teen scene in its own special way (see Verizon Offers Promotions).

Verizon is offering people that subscribe to its own CDMA2000 1xRTT "Express" network (available in "more than 300 cities" in the U.S.) between August 1 and September 30 a free month of use. Verizon usually charges $99 a month for unlimited data usage on this network.

Now it just so happens that Sprint PCS is expected to start its high-speed service any day now. August 10 is the favorite date at the moment. Sprint has already said that it plans to undercut rivals with the pricing of its offerings (see Sprint: Next-Gen Data Services Should Be Affordable). Far be it from us to suggest that this could be a motivating factor in Verizon's generous offer.

Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile recently launched a nationwide prepaid service aimed at the yoof market (see Branson Targets US Teens). Piggy-backing on Sprint's network, Virgin came out of the gate with some interesting pricing tweaks.

Virgin is charging a flat rate for all calls, with no peak or off-peak times. The Brit firm wants $0.25 a minute for the first ten minutes of talk, then $0.10 a minute after that. Now, Verizon has said that it will charge $0.30 per minute for weekday minutes and $0.15 per minute nights and weekends for its "Freeup" prepaid service. In addition, subscribers calling another "Freeup" user will be charged $0.15 a minute anytime.

This is all very well and good, but the burning question on everyone's mind is: When will Verizon offer the "kids" the chance to send their friends something that sounds like a camel farting underwater? (See Dude, Where's My Phone?.) Instead, the firm's service apparently "reinforces the important money management values parents hope to instill in their teens, while helping young people make responsible choices about their wireless usage."


— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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