Changes to Verizon Mobile BroadBand can save you money

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May 18, 2009

Last week Verizon made several changes to their 3G / EVDO “Mobile BroadBand” data plans, including increasing the limit of their $39.99/month plan, lowering the overage charges across the board, and lowering the most expensive tethering fee (data feature) for cell phones.

Verizon’s press release announcing these changes was vague on some topics and left many people with more questions than answers… this article should help to clear up some of the confusion.

THE CHANGES: What they are, who they effect, and how to take advantage of them!

The $39.99/mo Mobile BroadBand Plan: In addition to the more popular $59.99/mo plan with 5GB/mo allowance, Verizon offers a $39.99/month plan that allowed a (much) lower data allowance. Before 05/17/09, the $39.99/mo plan gave users just 50MB of usage which could very easily be used in a matter of days if not hours – but Verizon has now increased that limit to 250MB with overage charges of 10 cents per megabyte used thereafter. Verizon is automatically upgrading all of their existing $39.99/month subscribers to this new plan with the higher limit and lower overages.

While the increased limit will make the $39.99/month option more appealing, remember that 250MB is still not a ton of data and most RVers will burn through more than that each month. The $59.99/month plan offers twenty times the 250MB limit for just $20 more per month. For more information on how much bandwidth is consumed by common activities like email, web browsing, downloading songs in iTunes, and more, as well as what you can do with 5GB, read this article: What Does 5GB Get Me?

Overage charges: With the exception of users who signed up for their Verizon Mobile BroadBand service before the 5GB allowance policy went into effect (last March, 2008), Verizon charges overage fees once you exceed a monthly data allowance (5GB for the $59.99/month and tethering plans and 250MB for the $39.99/month plan). Verizon was originally charging users 25 cents per megabyte used after their allowance was reached, which added up to a whopping $256 per gigabyte. While imposing limits and charging overage fees thereafter is the norm (all of the major carriers, including Sprint and AT&T, have similar policies), 25 cents per megabyte was very costly and considerably higher than Sprint’s 5 cents/MB charge (although much lower than AT&T’s sky-high 48 cents/MB overage fees!). Effective Sunday, 5/17/09, Verizon has lowered their overage fees considerably:

  • For the $59.99/month plan with 5GB limit, the overage charge has dropped from 25 cents/MB to 5 cents/MB
  • For the $39.99/month plan with 250MB limit, the overage charge has dropped from 25cents/MB to 10 cents/MB
  • For ALL tethering plans, the overage charge has dropped from 25 cents/MB to 5 cents/MB

All new subscribers who sign up for service or add tethering to their voice plan after 05/17/09 will see these new overage fees, but existing subscribers will not automatically have their fees lowered! To take advantage of the new lower overage charges, you must call Verizon at (800) 922-0204 and ask them to put you on the new plan. This will NOT affect your contract or your monthly rate but could save you quite a bit of money if you do exceed your limit.

Remember, you can always check your data usage online at (you’ll need to log in or create an account if you don’t already have one).

Tethering Fees: Verizon has for some time had three different phone-tethering rates in place – one for customers using traditional (non-PDA) phones, one for PDA/Smartphone/Blackberry users signed up for the $29.99/month data package, and a third for PDA/Smartphone/Blackberry users who were signed up for the $44.95/month data package. All three tethering plans will now feature the lower 5 cents/MB overage charge, but only the monthly fee for non-PDA users has changed:

  • Regular (non-PDA) phones: $49.99/mo (previously $59.99)
  • PDA users with $29.99 PDA package: $30/mo (same as before)
  • PDA users with $44.95 PDA package: $15/mo (same as before)

If you are currently subscribed to a tethering package, Verizon will NOT automatically extend these new charges to you. You must call Verizon at (800) 922-0204 and ask them to activate the new feature pricing in order to take advantage of the lower overage charges or the monthly fee for non-PDA users.

These changes from Verizon will have a positive impact on many RVers and their monthly bills. While no one likes paying overage charges, they are becoming the norm amongst service providers and seeing Verizon make the choice to charge less is certainly a positive change, as is increasing the limit of the $39.99/month plan and lowering the tethering fee for non-PDA users. If you’re an existing subscriber, don’t forget to call Verizon to take advantage of these changes – with the exception of the increased limit on the $39.99/month plan, Verizon will NOT automatically change your plan to reflect these new lower fees!

For much more information on phone-tethering, check out this great article.

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  4. DownWithVerizon

    Kay: Verizon *overcharged* you by $190 when your roomate exceeded the ridiculous low limit of 5G that Verizon *imposes.* I totally agree with John: It’s not too hard to go over it. It happened to me (I work from home and depend heavily on Internet) and switched to Comcast… which offers me a 250 GB limit instead!

  5. Kay

    I’ve had the Verizon wireless broadband for over a year and never went over until my new roommate used it. In one month she racked up over 37,000 megabites. We both didn’t have any idea about megabites. The bill should have been over $8000 but Verizon charged me (or should I say her, since I am making her pay the bill) $190 instead of the $8000. The next month’s bill she went over again which I think included the week the last’s month’s bill came out. She went over by 7000 megabites which should have cost about $1750. Again Verizon only charged $190. I am not sure what in the world we would have done if they charged the correct amount. Thank God they were good about it. I didn’t have to call and complain or anything to them….

  6. Fritz: I am like you i have used my wireless Verizon Broadband to Oregan 3 Time’s & the only Time’s i could not use it was in The Mountain Range’s! That’s why I went to a satelite for my H.P.w/17″ screen, address will soon change from Verizon my 2 year contract is expired! Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired! Getting ready to zHit the Road!

  7. I have a 10′ antena with a cell Booster that Boost the cell signal for my Verizon Broadband for my H.P.-P.C. so i can be Quite away’s from a tower & still have a signal to get out! & if you contact Verizon ahead of time & tell them you are traveling to say Phoenix AZ. Area they reconfigure your cell # so you have no-Roaming charge’s I Just done it today! I you are right & can beat contacting Verizon every Time i wanna Move Great & Thank’s for the info Brother! Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired

  8. Have one satelite for the TV’s & One for the P.C. address will change soon! Getting ready to head south then up to Southern Oregon at Gold Beach on the Roque River at Trailer court Lucky-7, Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired!

  9. I told Verizon of my Travel plan’s and they told me jus tto let then Know & they would change my Assigned phone # to my H.P. 17″ screen , & they would assign me a NEW PHONE # for that area where i dont have to pay Roaming charge’s! I have used it in the roam mode once at Branson Missouri! Now I have a satelite for my H.P.Laptop just had it installed! Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired!

  10. Randy Benedict

    Katherine, if you only use your Verizon card for very limited time you might want to check out Rovair ( ). We don’t travel much, but when we do we like to have internet access. Rather than committing to the two year contracts, we simply rent an aircard. Great service.

  11. Ok, I’ve had my verizon for almost two years. I cancelled by home DSL and use the air card on home PC and lap top on the road. We had only two spots in the western U.S. that service was slow. Overall I’ve been very happy with the service. Thanks for the information on calling verizon and getting the new deduction on overage. Personally I’ve never needed it.

  12. @John — I also phoned Verizon, but the rep I spoke with said he thought my account would have been automatically changed over to the $0.05/MB overage fee. Oh, well. At the same time, though, I was able to suspend our service until we notify them since we park our RV most of the summer. That has a one-time $15 fee, but that’s better than paying $60/month when we’re not using it.

  13. Drew

    IMHO- Sprint has them all beat if you decide the air card is for you. Slow connection speeds, complicated menus; price all count against Verizon…and the network is poor- coverage awfull.

  14. John Speciale

    Thanks for the heads-up. I just called Verizon and switched my Mobile Broadband Connect (tether) plan to the new rate structure. I also confirmed that they won’t switch existing customers to the new plan unless you call and request it. That seems like poor customer service to me.

  15. John Shelton

    To get a better perspective of how much……or how little……. 5 GB download is, think of this. If you are downloading the Windows 7 Release Candidate in both 32 bit and 64 bit version, you are already over 5 GB with just those two downloads. The 32 bit version is something like 2.4 or 2.6 GB and the 64 bit version is like 3.2 GB. If one uses much internet time for anything more than email and an occasional search for some specific information they will run past 5 GB before they realize it. The cell phone companies present this as a HUGE volume…… really ain’t no whole lot! Don’t be misled.

    I have the older unlimited plan and I run more than double the 5 GB in one month on occasion.

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