More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers who are on an unlimited plan for their first time pay at least $1,000 a month, a survey by Consumer Reports found.
Averaging that out, Verizon Unlimited plans cost consumers an average of $979 a month more than their standard plan, according to a Consumer Reports analysis of data from Nielsen and Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
And if the plans are priced for a full year, consumers on Verizon Unlimited accounts spend an average $1.02 for every $1 they earn.
That’s a huge gap that Verizon said it is trying to close, with the plan’s pricing going up by $50 a month from the current rate of $49.99 a month.
Verizon plans that start with a free month or $50 credit to get the plans down to a monthly cost of $549.99, a savings of $25.75 a month per customer.
But the plan can’t get away from the $1 price tag, and the company is already looking to expand the number of plans that offer free month-to-month credits.
The company said Tuesday that it will begin rolling out free credits for new plans in the second quarter.
That means customers will be able to get a free monthly credit for a new plan they sign up for that has not yet been sold or upgraded, but which has been on a limited-time offer.
The move comes after Verizon announced last year that it would extend its unlimited plan to cover more people, with a new unlimited plan that will be available through the end of this year and a longer-term plan that is available for three years after that.
In a statement, Verizon said customers who do not want unlimited plans will be eligible to receive a new one that costs $200 less, but those customers will have to pay the $50 per month credit instead.
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But it’s still likely that customers will end up paying more for a plan that includes unlimited data and a credit for the price of their new plan.
For example, Verizon has offered unlimited data plans for about two years, and customers who bought a plan at $99 a year in early 2018 have been paying $199 a month for the unlimited plan.
Now they will have a $199 plan for the next two years.
Consumers who bought an unlimited data plan at a discounted price will get the new unlimited data deal for $150 less than they would pay for their standard unlimited plan, and will have the choice of upgrading to a $1-a-month credit that will cover the difference.
Verizon said its plans will include discounts for “new and used devices” and other features that are not part of its standard unlimited plans.
But consumers who opt for the new plan will still be paying for the service, and they could end up losing out on some of the benefits of unlimited data.
For instance, the unlimited plans offer a lot more video and other streaming options than standard unlimited data, and users could see lower prices if they use a phone with more than one gigabyte of storage.
The new unlimited plans include plans that can be switched to unlimited data if customers want to get more than the current plan and pay a $10 surcharge each month.
The plan that costs the least per month, the $149 plan, is available only through December 31.
The unlimited plans that don’t include video and streaming are available only on Verizon Wireless plans, so the company will have limited choice of what to include in those plans, said Eric Tofel, Verizon Wireless vice president of customer experience.
Verizon’s new unlimited offers are available through Verizon Wireless’ website, where they can be found by going to “Add to cart” at the top of the page and selecting “Options.”