Verizon's 3G Fire Sale

Used to be there was no such thing as a prepaid MVNO on the Verizon Network. Now big red is acting as a gracious host to one and all, with every network Walmart loves carrying CDMA phones and labels making it clear they are riding on Verizon's big and usually damned pricey shoulders.

ZTE Sexy

So what gives?

Basically, all of the "real" Verizon customers are over on 4G LTE, because Verizon rolled out coverage for that... um... everywhere. So, their not-that-fast-but-honestly-perfectly-fine-most-of-the-time-you-are-using-a-phone 3G network is going unused. What's a heavily capital intensive business with a fully depreciated but still cash generating asset with extra capacity to do? Rent it out!

And so it has. You can now get all kinds of different plans with verizon 3G - all of them about $99 for a decent phone (pretty meh specs - single core, 3.5' screen etc) or about $70 for this tiny little thing (only $20 actually on verizon prepaid - but then you have a data cap for no good reason).

Say it together now: "Budge-it"

So - is this a good deal? $50/mo for unlimited everything and the Verizon network? Depends. Virgin Mobile offers 4G LTE and a much better phone for $45/mo and $115 (currently) for a phone I really like - the LG G3. So... how's the coverage where you are? If you are like me and you are often places where only Verizon has coverage.. this is a great deal. If you live in the city I might even look at FamilyMobile and get unlimited everything for $40/mo on the T-Mobile network and the wide selection of good GSM unlocked phones out there. Somewhere in the middle is Virgin Mobile.

Personally, I will be getting one of these with a $100 phone and pairing it with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 on Sprint for $50 + $15/mo for 2GB of data (something I already have and love). Total cost: $150 devices, $60/mo data, talk, text etc. Yes, it means carrying two devices.. but I do that anyway.

More generally, it sure is interesting that Verizon 3G is now available at a steep discount. Will Verizon end up cannibalizing customers who otherwise would be paying their seriously expensive post-paid plans? Only time will tell, but my guess is yes.

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