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Verizon Simplifies Its Plans, Kills Smartphone Subsidies

Beginning August 13, new Verizon Wireless customers will be able to sign up only to simplified plans that don't include smartphone subsidies. The smartphones, along with other devices such as tablets and wearables, will be sold on a payment plan or at full retail price.

Verizon seems to finally be fully on board with a trend that T-Mobile started a few years ago with its "un-carrier" strategy, which promoted higher transparency of wireless plans and gave the customers a little more control over what they were paying.

First off, Verizon will split its Voice and Data plans into four classes or "sizes:"

Small: $30/month for 1 GB of shareable dataMedium: $45/month for 3 GB of shareable dataLarge: $60/month for 6 GB of shareable dataX-Large: $80/month for 12 GB of shareable data

Then, the company will also simplify its monthly line-access charges. On the new plan, the line-access for smartphones is $20 per month, for tablets it costs $10 a month, and for devices such as smartwatches it's $5 a month. The plans can be shared with up to 10 devices.

There's still a debate to be had about whether Verizon should be charging for "sharing" your data with other devices, considering you're already paying for that data, so it shouldn't matter which device gets to use it. The line between a smartphone and a PC and what you can do with both has blurred significantly over the past few years.

For instance, people watch data-intensive videos on their phones all the time. Therefore, it should make little difference whether it's a smartphone or a PC that uses that data, as long as the customer pays for it. However, American carriers continue to charge extra for the "privilege" of using your smartphone data on a PC.

As part of the new structure, Verizon has also put its old "Edge" payments program for smartphones front and center, giving all customers the choice between a monthly payment plan and paying the full retail price of the available smartphones.

Customers can keep their existing plans or move to the new ones, but there will be some restrictions. Verizon promised that over the next six months, more customers will be able to see the increased transparency in their phone bills, and they should be able to know exactly what they paid for.

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