Mobile road warriors can attest to the usefulness of 3G modems. It’s empowering to know that you can hop online at anytime, no matter where you are. It gets even better if you can use your 3G modem with a prepaid data plan, like the Broadband2Go plan from Virgin Mobile USA. And, it looks like Verizon Wireless understands the need for prepaid data plans. The No. 1 US wireless carrier (by subscriber count) has just announced a trio of new prepaid data plans for use with the Novatel USB760 3G modem. The plans range from $15 to $50 per month, but don’t expect to get what you pay for.
For $15, customers will get 75MB of data for a single day of service. For $30, Verizon will offer 250MB of data, which can be used over the course of a week. The highest prepaid plan offers 500MB of data for a month, but costs a whopping $50. Compare those prices to the $60 post-paid (contract required) data plan from Verizon, and it’s clear that the prepaid plans are disproportionately expensive. If you compare those prices to Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go plans, which offer 100MB for $10, 250MB for $20, 600MB for $40, or 1GB for $60, and Verizon’s new plans look like downright rip-offs.
What justifies the extra cost of Verizon’s prepaid data plans? As far as we can tell, you’re paying more just for the brand-name. Verizon apparently thinks people shop for 3G modems like they shop for designer jeans.
Verizon Wireless will launch the prepaid plans and the Novatel USB760 modem on November 15th via Verizon retail stores. The Novatel USB760 will cost $129.99, and it’s up to you to fill it up with prepaid data.