VZW Drops Monthly Data Charges For Music Downloads; Launches Chocolate

In what is the closest a U.S. operator has come to a rational music pricing structure, Verizon Wireless is dropping monthly data subscription charges of $15, for users who just want to download music on to their phones. Additionally, Verizon is introducing the Chocolate cellphone by LG, a sleek device that looks more like a thin iPod than a handset.
The phone has a 2GB memory and comes with a USB chord, to transfer MP3 and Microsoft’s copy-protected WMA songs from PC to phone…Verizon will sell it for $149 with a service contract. The story says it can hold 2,000 songs on 2GB (an AP story says 1,000)…my 2GB iPod nano holds about 500, so not sure who they got that figure.
Verizon will continue charging $1.99 for downloads to the handset, or 99 cents a song for customers who download directly to PCs.
Meanwhile, Sprint continues to sell it for $2.49 a song, and charges $15 to $25 monthly fees for data access, which includes music and other entertainment.
For VZW, this is a smart move, though music prices still have to come down and probably will within the next 6 months to 99 cents, in line with iTunes and other online stores.
AP: Verizon drew some howls of protest in January when the software upgrade required to use the new V Cast music store disabled the MP3 player capability on the two compatible phones. Users could still convert their songs to the Windows format and play them on the phones.