Verizon Wireless has made a major change to the $80/month prepaid smartphone plan that it launched last April. The plan includes unlimited voice and messaging and 1 GB of data, but until now it could only be used with a single device, the $169.99 Samsung Illusion Android phone.
The carrier is now allowing any clean ESN Verizon smartphone on the $80 plan, with the notable exception of iPhones and phones with LTE support, which are still blocked from Verizon prepaid.
BlackBerrys on the $80 plan get access to BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which is required by BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry push Email and some BlackBerry apps, including the official Facebook app.
With this change, Verizon is now allowing the same devices on their $80 prepaid plan that Verizon MVNO Page Plus Cellular allows on any plan. Page Plus is less expensive however, with plans starting at $2.50/month for pay as you go. The flagship Page Plus plan is $55/month and includes the same unlimited voice and messaging along with 2 GB of data, twice as much as Verizon's plan for $25/month less. There's no BIS with Page Plus, however.
Verizon hasn't made any announcement of the new policy and there's no mention of it on the Verizon prepaid website. The change was first reported on HowardForums and I've confirmed it with Verizon in a chat session (transcript below):
info: Please hold for a Verizon Wireless sales representative to assist you with your order. Thank you for your patience.
info: You are now chatting with 'Josh K'
Josh K: Thank you for using Verizon Wireless Sales Chat Service. My Name is Josh K, I can help you with upgrading, adding a new line, or ordering some accessories. How can I help you today?
You: Can a Droid 3 or a BlackBerry be activated on the $80 prepaid smartphone plan?
Josh K: I would be happy to answer that, well yes they can!
You: Is BIS included for the BlackBerry
Josh K: Yes of course.
You: Are there any limitations at all as to what devices are now allowed on the $80 prepaid plan? Are iPhones allowed? LTE phones?
Josh K: I'm sorry at this time, those devices are not.
You: So any non-iPhone, non-LTE Verizon phone?
Josh K: Correect.
With this new policy, Verizon's legacy prepaid smartphone plans, which offered truly unlimited data, are no longer available. Those plans, which also allowed all Verizon smartphones except iPhones and LTE devices, ranged in price from $74.99/month for 450 voice minutes and pay as you go messaging to $124.99/month for unlimited voice, messaging and data.