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Verizon Wireless (s vz) next week will begin requiring a minimum $10 data plan with some new feature phones, according to information obtained by Boy Genius Report. The move not only appears to mark the carrier’s most expensive data plan yet, it could be a sign of things to come with LTE. Verizon declined to confirm the report to GigaOM.
It appears that users who buy one of nine phones — dubbed “3G multimedia” handsets — will have to sign up for one of two data plans: 25MB a month for a whopping $10 (that’s 40 cents a MB) or an unlimited option that will reportedly replace the current 75MB plan for $30 (also 40 cents a MB). That’s right, Verizon thinks 1 MB is worth slightly less than a 44-cent postage stamp. The plans are substantially pricier than AT&T’s (s t) $15-a-month unlimited web add-on for feature phones — which, of course, is optional — and follows moves by both Verizon and AT&T to require data plans with all new smartphone purchases.
More importantly, the requirement and suggested data plans may signal Verizon’s plans to raise data fees for users on the LTE network it will begin to deploy this year. Verizon last week said LTE users will incur a basic subscriber fee plus usage charges based on bandwidth consumption. If the rumored price hike is any indication of what it will cost to use the 4G network, the carrier may not ever have to deal with the kind of congestion issues that AT&T has suffered due to the iPhone (s aapl) simply because no one will be able to afford it.
Image courtesy Flickr user abbyladybug.