Selectel Wireless announced on their Facebook Page today that they will begin offering 4G LTE data on June 1st.
Another Verizon MVNO, Puppy Wireless, has said that they will have LTE around the same tine so it looks like Verizon's ban on MVMOs that aren't owned by America Movil's TracFone is finally coming to an end.
The public announcement did not give any details of plan pricing however I've received a copy of document that was sent to Selectel dealers today that lists the LTE plans that will be available at launch. Here's the full text of the message:
Today we are officially announcing that we will be launching 4G LTE on Monday June 1st. We will have the following 4G LTE plans available on launch date:
$20 4G monthly plan will include 500 voice, 500 sms, and 2.5 mb of data for MMS only (this plan can not have a flex card because it is a non-data plan which will be perfect for younger kids and the elderly that want a new device or a hand me down 4g device without having data but still has ability to receive MMS).
We may phase out the $15 monthly plan in the future however for now it will remain active and unchanged.
$30 monthly 4G & 3G plan will not be changed. It will continue to have 1300 voice 3000 sms, and 500 mb of data.
$40 monthly 4G & 3G plan will include unlimited talk, sms, and 1GB of data.
$55 monthly 4G & 3G plan will include unlimited talk, sms, and 3GB of data.
$70 monthly 4G & 3G plan will include unlimited talk, sms, and 5GB of data.
We will have a yearly 4G Plan for $100 which will not include any web and can not have any flex card added to the plan, however it will include 2.5mb of MMS per month. The yearly plan will continue to include 2000 voice, 2000 text. So if customer wants 3G yearly plan the cost is $75 and if they want to use a 4G device the rate is $100 however they will be able to use a newer 4G device.
We are still testing our systems and plan to have it completed within the next few days so that we are able to go live on June 1st. You will receive marketing materials within the next two weeks. Thank you!
Selectel's LTE plan plan pricing seems pretty good overall assuming that Selectel's signature free off network voice and text roaming is available to LTE customers. There are no changes to the $30 plan, but the $40 plan gets 1 GB of data instead of 200 MB and the $55 plan plan goes from 2 GB to 3 GB of data. The $70 5 GB plan is new.
But the no LTE phones on the $15 plan and no Flex card for LTE users rules are going to disappoint current $15 monthly and $75 yearly plan users.
I find it strange that the $20 and $100 plans include 2.5 MB of data per month that can only be used for MMS. This smells like Verizon not allowing non-TracFone MVNOs to sell plans priced at less than $30/month that offer general purpose LTE. If would be easy for Verizon to enforce the rule with a firewall that only whitelists their MMS server, but that seems like such a petty thing to do to MVNOs and their customers. And why doesn't the MMS-only rule apply to TracFone PayGo which starts at $6.67/month?
If you are wondering how many MMS 2.5 MB of data is good for, according to one Verizon document I found, the maximum allowed size of a MMS is 1.2 MB. So 2.5 MB isn't going to go very far.
In a separate message to dealers, Selectel's CEO said that customers woud be able to activate any Verizon LTE phone not currently tied to a Verizon contract. He also said that in testing Selectel was seeing LTE speeds of 5 to 7.5 Mbps. That seems slightly faster than the 5-6 Mbps other Verizon MVNO users are reporting but still apparently throttled.
LTE on More Verizon MVNOs Soon, Selectel and Puppy SIMs Shipping
Prepaid Operator Profile: Selectel Wireless