Verizon’s(s vz) prepaid customers make up a small percentage of its total wireless business in the United States, and part of the reason is that the service lags behind other prepaid plans. Currently, you can’t get LTE; you’re stuck on Verizon’s painfully slow CDMA network. But that’s about to change: according to a report at Droid-Life, it seems like Verizon will soon be turning on the LTE switch for its Allset plans.
Verizon’s Allset prepaid plans, introduced earlier this year, are actually fairly cost effective: you start with a $45 monthly charge that brings unlimited calls and texts with 500MB of data, then add what Verizon calls “Bridge Data,” which are data buckets in 500MB, 1GB, and 3GB increments. Uniquely for pre-paid plans, the data rolls over, so if you purchase 3GB of mobile data for $20 you can actually use that over a period of 90 days. That works out to $65 for unlimited calls, texts and 3.5GB of data, which is competitive with AT&T’s prepaid GoPhone plans and other competitors if it includes LTE.
Verizon’s prepaid website currently doesn’t sell a smartphone with the proper hardware to connect to Verizon’s LTE network, although it’s possible to bring your own device to the plan. Droid-Life expects the change to go live on July 17, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some LTE devices go on sale the same day — perhaps the LG G2 Droid Life points to, or maybe the iPhone 5 or Moto G with LTE.
No word whether this means that prepaid devices will gain access to Verizon’s faster XLTE network. We’ll also have to wait to see whether the change will carry over to MVNOs that resell Verizon spectrum — currently, MVNOs like PagePlus and Net10 restrict their customers to 3G CDMA connections as well.
This was bound to happen eventually; Verizon pushes its LTE network heavily for its post-paid contracts, and the growth of carriers like T-Mobile show there’s a segment of the network looking for prepaid plans with a comparable level of service to post-paid plans.