Verizon, which has been losing customers like crazy from its overpriced Inpulse prepaid plans, is trialling a more competitive $50/month unlimited talk, text and web plan. It's called Verizon Unleashed and is only available in selected markets in Florida and Southern California.
The unlimited messaging includes picture and video messaging and messages to Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Anyone can view the offer at https://store.verizonwireless.com/unleashed but you wont be able to sign up unless you enter a zip code in one of the test markets. Two zip codes that work are 90001 (Los Angeles) and 32801 (Orlando, FL).
Unleashed phones are also starting to show up in BestBuy stores in the test areas.
There are other restrictions. You can only use one of three rather bland feature phones, the $39.99 LG Accolade a basic flip phone, $79.99 Pantech Caper QWERTY bar phone and the $99.99 LG Cosmos QWERTY Slider.
I don't know anything about the Caper, which is new, but there's nothing really wrong with the Accolade whose strong point is better than average battery life or the Cosmos which is actually the well liked LG Rumor II under a new name. All three phones have small screens and basic WAP browsers which makes the unlimited web less appealing than it sounds. If you buy an Unleashed phone online Verizon charges a $35 activation fee. There's no activation fee if you buy an Uleashed phone at best buy. Here's a comparison of the three phones.
Unleashed is a OK deal if you live in one of the target areas and need unlimited talk and text and are satisfied with a basic phone. It's competitive with other carrier's offerings but not really superior. Here's a chart comparing Unleashed with the leading nationwide unlimited everything plans.
|Operator||Plan or Package||Network||Smartphones available?||Monthly Cost||Voice min.||SMS||Data|
|Boost Mobile||Unlimited||Sprint||Yes, Android||50.00||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|MetroPCS Android Plan||Unlimited||MetroPCS + Sprint roaming||Yes, Android, Windows Mobile||50.00||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|Straight Talk CDMA||Unlimited||Verizon||No||45.00||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|Straight Talk GSM||Unlimited||AT&T + roaming||Yes, Symbian||45.00||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|MetroPCS Basic Plan||Unlimited||MetroPCS + Sprint roaming||No||$40.00||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
Unleashed doesn't standout unless you can use the unlimited messaging to Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. Straight Talk and MetroPCS are both less expensive and every carrier has a better phone selection than Unleashed.
Verizon does have the best coverage, but Straight Talk CDMA also uses the Verizon network and is $5/month cheaper.