However the change to the way expired monthly plans work that will allow using a monthly plan as an inexpensive, low use pay as you go data plan hasn't happened yet.
The changes, which were originally scheduled for Oct 31, where postponed because Page Plus' "back end provider", presumably Verizon, was busy with hurricane Sandy related repairs and didn't have the resources to make the billing changes as originally scheduled.
Effective today Nov 8, Verizon MVNO Page Plus Cellular has increased the amount of data included with its $29.95 monthly plan from 100 MB to 250 MB. The $39.95 monthly plan's data allowance is also increasing from 100 MB to 200 MB. Overage rates on all monthly plans $29.95 and up are being lowered to 5¢ per voice minute, text or MB of data.
Soon, Page Plus will also make a chance it the way it handles monthly plans that fail to renew because of insufficient funds. Instead of switching plans that don't renew to a particularly pricey version of pay as you go; if the expired plan holder's account balance is at least $5, Page Plus will charge for usage on the expired plan at the new overage rates of 5¢ per voice minute, text or MB of data. This change a little confusing so here's a detailed comparison of the new policy vs how it used to work. Update Oct. 13: this change is not yet live, monthly plans are still reverting to Standard plan rates a few hours after the plan expires.
How expired monthly plans work now: If on your monthly plan's renewal date there's neither a monthly PIN or sufficient funds to renew, but there are some funds in the account; calls, messages and data would be billed at plan's overage rates, which vary by plan. However after a few hours the plan would revert to the most expensive version of the "Standard" pay as you go plan which charges 12¢ per voice minute, 5¢ per text message and 99¢ per MB of data.
Here's how expired monthly plans will eventually work: Just as it used to, if on your monthly plan's renewal date there's neither a stacked monthly PIN or sufficient funds to renew, but there are some funds in the account; calls, messages and data will be billed at plan's overage rates of 5¢ per voice minute, 5¢ per text message and 5¢ per MB of data on all plans $29.95 and up. We don't know when this change will go into effect but it's supposed to be "soon".
But, and this is what is changing, as long as there is at least $5 in the account when it failed to renewal, it will not revert to the Standard Plan and the overage rates will remain in effect indefinitely provided the user adds at least $10/month to the account. Presumably, if the user adds enough money to cover the monthly charge, the plan will renew.
These changes are customer friendly and will help anyone whose plan fails to renew because the user couldn't afford to renew or simply forgot to add money on time. Page Plus is to be commended for making these changes which will reduce the company's revenue a little bit, but make the plans easier to understand and are fairer to the user.
When they are live these changes will also make it possible to use a monthly plan as a pay as go plan with a much lower price per megabyte of data than the Standard Plan. Activating a $29.95 Plan and then adding a $10 PIN before the plan month ends and then adding another $10 PIN at least every 30 days would give you a pay as you go plan similar to the AirVoice and H2O $10/month plans but with a much lower per MB data rate. The only catch is that you would need to use the phone enough to keep the account balance under $29.95 at all times. The logistics are a little cumbersome but they could be worth it get pay as you go with rates of 5¢ per voice minute, 5¢ per text message and 5¢ per MB of data and a $10 monthly minimum payment.
On the Kitty Wireless Forum, they have dubbed this new "plan" the Monthly Expired Bundle-in-Limbo Solution (MEBILS) and Kitty Wireless has said that they plan to offer a way to automate the process monitoring one's MEBILS balance and adding the required $10 per month at the right time.
I'm hoping that Page Plus is OK with this scheme and doesn't modify the rules to make using a monthly plan as pay as you go impossible. Even better would be if Page Plus were to launch a new $10 monthly pay with these rates. I'm very interested in seeing how this new plan will work out.
Here's a handy summary of the rules of MEBILs from Kitty:
To use get rates of 5¢/minute, 5¢/text and 5¢/MB of data indefinitely:
- You must start on an unexpired $29.95, 39.95 or $55.99 Monthly plan.
- Be sure that on your plan renewal date that you have a cash balance in your account that's at least $5 but less than your monthly renewal amount. That means:
- TnT1200 customers should never have more than $29.94 in cash.
- Unlimited $39.95 customers should never have more than $39.94 in cash.
- Unlimited $55.00 customers should never have more than $54.99 in cash.