Verizon - Prepaid Cellular

Who is Verizon

Verizon, formerly Bell Atlantic, was founded in 1983 as a result of the federally mandated breakup of the Bell System. The name itself is a portmanteau of "veritas" and "horizon." Veritas is first century Roman for "truth."

After a merger with seven of the baby bells on the east coast, company headquarters moved from Philadelphia to New York. After Bell Atlantic acquired and merged with GTE in 2000 the company changed its name to Verizon. In January 2009 Verizon acquired Alltel wireless in a deal valued at twenty-eight (28b) billion dollars. This made Verizon a national wireless provider and the largest in the nation by customer count.

Verizon currently has about ninety-two million customers spread out over its contract, "no contract," and prepaid plans.

Verizon Wireless Logo
Verizon Wireless Logo | Source

Verizon Prepaid Services

Verizon offers just three service plans. Unlike many prepaid carriers Verizon supports unlimited calling to any other Verizon customer regardless of plan chosen.

The plans are called Talk and Text and they are bought in blocks of minutes. Unlike many other prepaid plans, Verizon's plans clearly spell out what voice and text charges are if the plan amount is exceeded.

The three plans are based on minutes and are titled that way. The four hundred fifty (450m) minute plan is $64.99 and calls placed beyond the 450 minutes cost 45¢ a minute. The nine hundred (900m) minute plan costs $84.99 and minutes beyond the 900 cost 40¢ a minute. Then there is the unlimited plan which is $94.99. If all of the minutes are used in a monthly period a refill can be ordered to "recharge" the account. The refills do not expire at the end of the month, but carry forward to the next month of any time remains on the refill.

The second plan is called "Beyond Talk" and is geared more toward smartphones by offering more in the way of data transfer, texting, and web-access. As with other providers the Blackberry Curve incurs an additional $10 fee.

The breakdown of all these plans is in the table immediately below.

Verizon Prepaid Plans
 
 
 
 
 
Minutes
Cost
Overage
Charged
 
450
$64.99
45 cents
monthly
 
900
$84.99
40 cents
monthly
 
unlimited
$94.99
25 cents
monthly
Refills
 
 
 
 
$15-$29.99
30 day expiration
 
 
 
$30-$74.99
90 day expiration
 
 
 
$75-$99.99
180 day expiration
 
 
 
$100
one year
 
 
 

The Phones

Verizon offers an amazingly wide selection of both basic and advanced phones. The basic, bare-bones, phones are surpisingly cheap starting at $20.00 ($19.99) for the Samsung Gusto (a flip phone) ranging all the way up to Blackberry Storm and Bold (at $349.99 each) and other smartphones including the Palm Pixi (at $79.99), the Droid Incredible by HTC (at $344.99) and Droid X by Motorola (at $394.99).

All of the smartphones offered, with the exception of the Palm Pixi and Blackberry models, are Android phones.

Though the prices posted may seem high these phones are a one time purchase with no contractual commitment on the consumers part. Better still there are no "web-only" discounts, bundles or other misleading and tough to wade-through conditions to these prices.

As with most other prepaid plans the price advertised is the price paid.

Despite the fact that Verizon will be carrying the iPhone4 as an offering to the contract plan (in February 2011) it is not one of the phones offered.

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Samsung Gusto (closed)Samsung Gusto (open)
Samsung Gusto (closed)
Samsung Gusto (closed) | Source
Samsung Gusto (open)
Samsung Gusto (open) | Source

Samsung Gusto

The Samsung Gusto is the cheapest flip phone offered at $20.00. The Gusto is a CDMA phone. As a prepaid phone it displays the minutes remaining on your account.

The phone measures four by two by one half inch (3.99 x 1.86 x 0.56") [101 x 47 x 14 mm] and weighs three and one half ounces. It has two displays one facing out when the clamshell is closed and another when the phone is opened. Both are color displays.

Average talk time with this phone is seven hours (which is pretty good) and it has a 1,000 milliamphour battery. It has a standby time of eighteen days.

It has a low resolution (0.3Mpxl) point three megapixel camera with no LED flash.

As with most phones made it has a calendar, tip calculator, world clock, stop-watch, notepad and currency converter. It will also connect to the internet. It supports SMS & MMS texting as well as email.

Address capacity is one thousand (1,000) entries in its sixty-four Megabyte memory. Memory is shared so it is also used to store text, pictures, and music. It also supports microSD and microUSB (mainly for charging. 

The unit also supports GPS location and navigation. Voice dialing is also supported and the phone complies with TDD and is hearing aid compatible for the hearing impaired.

Droid X by Motorola
Droid X by Motorola | Source

Droid X by Motorola

The Droid X is a CDMA phone in the candybar form-factor and is one of the more expensive prepaid phones at $394.99. The dimensions are five by two and a half by one third of an inch (5.02 x 2.58 x 0.39) [127.5 x 65.5 x 9.9 mm]; it weighs five and one half (5.47oz) ounces.

It has a four point three inch diagonal display capable of supporting sixteen million colors. The screen is multi-touch capacitive capable or recognizing gestures.  Of course the phone has a proximity sensor to turn the face off when close to an object; it also has a light sensor to adjust the display for ambient lighting conditions.

The Droid X can support web-browsing via WiFi, and is also able to send SMS, MMS, eMail (POP3, IMAP, SMTP, & Microsoft Exchange).  It also supports video chat.

The phone has two microphones, one for voice calling and the second, facing outward, to serve as audio for video recording and also as a noise cancelling microphone.

Built in memory is over six (6Gb) gigabytes with a microSD card this can be extended to 32Gb.

The Droid X has a 1,540 milliamphour battery which gives is a remarkable eight (8h) hours of talk time and eighteen days of standby time.  The built in camera is eight (8Mpxl) Megapixels with an LED flash. The camera is capable of recording both still and video images. The video is recorded at 720p (high definition) at thirty frames per second.

The phone is also a music/video player supporting MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WAV, and MIDI file types.  The Droid X also has a built-in FM radio.

Other Phones

Verizon offers many other phones. They are broken down by type (basic, blackberry, and smart). So many, in fact, that the author suggests cruising the site to get a good look at all the offerings.

Accessories

Verizon offers the usual stable of accessories at marked-up prices.

Coda

Verizon offers some very powerful phones in it's prepaid lineup. Most are smartphones with a small handful being basic phones. Even though the most expensive phone offered is nearly $400.00 this is the actual cost of the phone to the consumer. No contract is in place to make up for the cost of the phone. Once you've bought the phone it's yours to keep.

When you run out of minutes (or the set number of days) you can no longer make calls, but Verizon offers "recharge" services at set prices. These "recharges" extend the number of minutes on the chose prepaid plan and do roll over depending on how much is spent (see chart above).

There are many other conditions covering text, text & picture messaging, video downloading and the like. The author strongly suggests viewing the site to see all the details.

Blogsphere Complaints
Verizon Prepaid does have it's complaints, but there aren't many. Almost all have to do with lousy customer service and being "cheated" on refunds and refills.

WebSite
At first the site looks easy to use, but the whole process is a "guided sale." One cannot look at a desired phone until a plan has been selected. Also, because the phones are grouped by basic, blackberry and smart, one has to "back up" to before the plan selection page to see different classes of phone.

That said, the charges are much easier to determine and there seems to be no attempt to cover-up, hide, or confuse the potential consumer with TMI (too much information).

Overall the site is pretty easy to navigate, though the author would like to be able to see the phones (all of them) without having to make special selections or backing up.

Verdict
The plans are quite expensive compared to many other providers. In fact a monthly fee for limited service is as high or higher than a two year contract plan with any other provider.

On the plus side almost everything imaginable is included with these plans. And the unlimited usage to other Verizon subscribers is a plus, though it is clearly designed to enforce some degree of loyalty.

Disclaimer

The author was not compensated in any way, monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.

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